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20 21, Bedford Street, W.C.2 

In Chancery 


Piibl'tshed by William Heinemann 

















MEMORIES. Illustrated by Maud Earl 
AWAKENING. Illustrated by R. H. 

Issued by other Publishers 


PLAYS (Four Vols.) 

In Chancery 


John Galsworthy 

■'Two households both alike in dignity, 

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny." 

Romeo and Juliet. 

London : William Heinemanix 

London : William Heinemann. 1920. 




In Chancery is sequel to The Man of Property 
and to Indian Summer of a Forsyte (contained in 
the volume entitled Five Tales), and continues The 
Forsyte Saga. — J. G. 




I. AT timothy's 



IV. SOHO - - - - 






























































AT timothy's 

The possessive instinct never stands still. Through flores- 
cence and feud, frosts and fires, it followed the laws of pro- 
gression even in the Forsyte family which had believed it 
fixed for ever. Nor can it be dissociated from environment 
any more than the quality of potato from the soil. 

The historian of the English eighties and nineties will, in 
his good time, depict the somewhat rapid progression from 
self-contented and contained provincialism to still more 
self-contented if less contained imperialism — in other 
words, the ' possessive ' instinct of the nation on the move. 
And so, as if in conformity, was it with the Forsyte family. 
They were spreading not merely on the surface, but within. 

When, in 1895, Susan Hayman, the married Forsyte 
sister, followed her husband at the ludicrously low age of 
seventy-four, and was cremated, it made strangely little 
stir among the six old Forsytes left. For this apathy there 
were three causes. First: the almost surreptitious burial 
of old Jolyon in 1892 down at Robin Hill — first of the 
Forsytes to desert the family grave at Highgate. That 
burial, coming a year after Swithin's entirely proper funeral, 
had occasioned a great deal of talk on Forsyte 'Change, the 
abode of Timothy Forsyte on the Bayswater Road, London, 
which still collected and radiated family gossip. Opinions 
ranged from the lamentation of Aunt Juley to the out- 
spoken assertion of Francie that it was ' a jolly good thing 
to stop all that stuffy Highgate business.' Uncle Jolyon 
in his later years — indeed, ever since the strange and lament- 



able affair between his granddaughter June's lover, young 
Bosinney, and Irene, his nephew Soames Forsyte's wife — 
had noticeably rapped the family's knuckles; and that way 
of his own which he had always taken had begun to seem 
to them a little wayward. The philosophic vein in him, of 
course, had always been too liable to crop out of the strata 
of pure Forsyteism, so they were in a way prepared for his 
interment in a strange spot. But the whole thing was an 
odd business, and when the contents of his Will became 
current coin on Forsyte 'Change, a shiver had gone round 
the clan. Out of his estate (^145,304 gross, with liabilities 
£?>S 7^' \^-) ^^ ^^*^ actually left j^i5,ooo to ' whomever 
do you think, my dear ? To Irene .'' that runaway wife of 
his nephew Soames; Irene, a woman who had almost dis- 
graced the family, and — still more amazing — was to him 
no blood relation. Not out and out, of course; only a life 
interest — only the income from it ! Still, there it was; 
and old Jolyon's claim to be the perfect Forsyte was ended 
once for all. That, then, was the first reason why the 
burial of Susan Hayman — at Woking — made little stir. 

The second reason was altogether more expansive and 
imperial. Besides the house on Campden Hill, Susan had 
a place (left her by Hayman when he died) just over the 
border in Hants, where the Hayman boys had learned to be 
such good shots and riders, as it was believed, which was 
of course nice for them and creditable to everybody; and 
the fact of owning something really countrified seemed 
somehow to excuse the dispersion of her remains — though 
what could have put cremation into her head they could 
not think ! The usual invitations, however, had been 
issued, and Soames had gone down and young Nicholas, 
and the Will had been quite satisfactory so far as it went, 
for she had only had a life interest; and everything had 
gone quite smoothly to the children in equal shares. 


The third reason why Susan's burial made little stir was 
the most expansive of all. It was summed up daringly by 
Euphemia, the pale, the thin: " Well, / think people have 
a right to their own bodies, even when they're dead." 
Coming from a daughter of Nicholas, a Liberal of the old 
school and most tyrannical, it was a startling remark — show- 
ing in a flash what a lot of water had run under bridges since 
the death of Aunt Ann in '88, just when the proprietorship 
of Soames over his wife's body was acquiring the uncertainty 
which had led to such disaster. Euphemia, of course, 
spoke like a child, and had no experience; for though well 
over thirty by now, her name was still Forsyte. But, making 
all allowances, her remark did undoubtedly show expansion 
of the principle of liberty, decentralisation and shift in the 
central point of possession from others to oneself. When 
Nicholas heard his daughter's remark from Aunt Hester he 
had rapped out: " Wives and daughters ! There's no end 
to their liberty in these days. I knew that ' Jackson ' case 
would lead to things — lugging in Habeas Corpus like that ! " 
He had, of course, never really forgiven the Married Woman's 
Property Act, which would so have interfered with him if 
he had not mercifully married before it was passed. But, 
in truth, there was no denying the revolt among the younger 
Forsytes against being owned by others; that, as it were, 
Colonial disposition to own oneself, which is the paradoxical 
forerunner of Imperialism, was making progress all the time. 
They were all now married, except George, confirmed to 
the Turf and the Iseeum Club; Francie, pursuing her musical 
career in a studio ofF the King's Road, Chelsea, and still 
taking 'lovers' to dances; Euphemia, living at home and 
complaining of Nicholas; and those two Dromios, Giles 
and Jesse Hayman. Of the third generation there were not 
very many — young Jolyon had three, Winifred Dartie four, 
young Nicholas six already, young Roger had one, Marian 


Tweetyman one; St. John Hayman two. But the rest of 
the sixteen married — Soames, Rachel and Cicely of James' 
family; Eustace and Thomas of Roger's; Ernest, Archibald 
and Florence of Nicholas'; Augustus and Annabel Spender 
of the Hayman's — were going down the years unreproduced. 

Thus, of the ten old Forsytes twenty-one young Forsytes 
had been born; but of the twenty-one young Forsytes there 
were as yet only seventeen descendants; and it already 
seemed unlikely that there would be more than a further 
unconsidered trifle or so. A student of statistics must have 
noticed that the birth rate had varied in accordance with 
the rate of interest for your money. Grandfather ' Superior 
Dosset ' Forsyte in the early nineteenth century had been 
getting ten per cent, for his, hence ten children. Those 
ten, leaving out the four who had not married, and Juley, 
whose husband Septimus Small had, of course, died almost 
at once, had averaged from four to five per cent, for theirs, 
and produced accordingly. The twenty-one whom they 
produced were now getting barely three per cent, in the 
Consols to which their fathers had mostly tied the Settle- 
ments they made to avoid death duties, and the six of them 
who had been reproduced had seventeen children, or just 
the proper two and live-sixths per stem. 

There were other reasons, too, for this mild reproduction. 
A distrust of their earning powers, natural where a sufficiency 
is guaranteed, together with the knowledge that their fathers 
did not die, kept them cautious. If one had children and 
not much income, the standard of taste and comfort must 
of necessity go down; what was enough for two was not 
enough for four, and so on — it would be better to wait and 
see what Father did. Besides, it was nice to be able to take 
holidays unhampered. Sooner in fact than own children, 
they preferred to concentrate on the ownership of themselves, 
conforming to the growing tendency — fin de siecU, as it 


was called. In this way, little risk was run, and one would be 
able to have a motor-car. Indeed, Eustace already had one, 
but it had shaken him horribly, and broken one of his eye 
teeth; so that it would be better to wait till they were a little 
safer. In the meantime, no more children ! Even young 
Nicholas was drawing in his horns, and had made no addition 
to his six for quite three years. 

The corporate decay, however, of the Forsytes, their 
dispersion rather, of which all this was symptomatic, had 
not advanced so far as to prevent a rally when Roger Forsyte 
died in 1899. It had been a glorious summer, and after 
holidays abroad and at the sea they were practically all 
back in London, when Roger with a touch of his old origin- 
ality had suddenly breathed his last at his own house in 
Princes Gardens. At Timothy's it was whispered sadly 
that poor Roger had always been eccentric about his diges- 
tion — had he not, for instance, preferred German mutton 
to all the other brands? 

Be that as it may, his funeral at Highgate had been perfect, 
and coming away from it Soames Forsyte made almost 
mechanically for his Uncle Timothy's in the Bayswater 
Road. The * Old Things ' — Aunt Juley and Aunt Hester — 
would like to hear about it. His father — James — at eighty- 
eight had not felt up to the fatigue of the funeral; and 
Timothy himself, of course, had not gone; so that Nicholas 
had been the only brother present. Still, there had been 
a fair gathering; and it would cheer Aunts Juley and Hester 
up to know. The kindly thought was not unmixed with the 
inevitable longing to get something out of everything you 
do, which is the chief characteristic of Forsytes, and indeed 
of the saner elements in every nation. In this practice of 
taking family matters to Timothy's in the Bayswater Road, 
Soames was but following in the footsteps of his father, who 
had been in the habit of going at least once a week to see his 


sisters at Timothy's, and had only given it up when he lost 
his nerve at eighty-six, and could not go out without Emily. 
To go with Emily was of no use, for who could really talk 
to anyone in the presence of his own wife ? Like James in 
the old days, Soames found time to go there nearly every 
Sunday, and sit in the little drawing-room into which, with 
his undoubted taste, he had introduced a good deal of change 
and china not quite up to his own fastidious mark, and at 
least two rather doubtful Barbizon pictures, at Christmas- 
tides. He himself, who had done extremely well with the 
Barbizons,had for some years past moved towards theMarises, 
Israels, and Mauve, and was hoping to do better. In the 
riverside house which he now inhabited near Mapledurham 
he had a gallery, beautifully hung and lighted, to which 
few London dealers were strangers. It served, too, as a 
Sunday afternoon attraction in those week-end parties which 
his sisters, Winifred or Rachel, occasionally organised for 
him. For though he was but a taciturn showman, his quiet 
collected determinism seldom failed to influence his guests, 
who knew that his reputation was grounded not on mere 
aesthetic fancy, but on his power of gauging the future of 
market values. When he went to Timothy's he almost 
always had some little tale of triumph over a dealer to unfold, 
and dearly he loved that coo of pride with which his aunts 
would greet it. This afternoon, however, he was differently 
animated, coming from Roger's funeral in his neat dark 
clothes — not quite black, for after all an uncle was but an 
uncle, and his soul abhorred excessive display of feeling. 
Leaning back in a marqueterie chair and gazing down his 
uplifted nose at the sky-blue walls plastered with gold frames, 
he was noticeably silent. Whether because he had been to a 
funeral or not, the peculiar Forsyte build of his face was seen 
to the best advantage this afternoon — a face concave and 
long, with a jaw which divested of flesh would have seemed 


extravagant: altogether a chinny face, though not at all ill- 
looking. He was feeling more strongly than ever that 
Timothy's was hopelessly * rum-ti-too,' and the souls of 
his aunts dismally mid-Victorian. The subject on which 
alone he wanted to talk — his own undivorced position — 
was unspeakable. And yet it occupied his mind to the 
exclusion of all else. It was only since the Spring that this 
had been so, and a new feeling grown up which was egging 
him on towards what he knew might well be folly in a Forsyte 
of forty-five. More and more of late he had been conscious 
that he was ' getting on.' The fortune, already considerable 
when he conceived the house at Robin Hill which had finally 
wrecked his marriage with Irene, had mounted with sur- 
prising vigour in the twelve lonely years during which he 
had devoted himself to little else. He was worth to-day 
well over a hundred thousand pounds, and had no one to 
leave it to — no real object for going on with what was his 
religion. Even if he were to relax his efforts, money made 
money, and he felt that he would have a hundred and fifty 
thousand before he knew where he was. There had always 
been a strongly domestic, philoprogenitive side to Soames; 
baulked and frustrated, it had hidden itself away, but now 
had crept out again in this his ' prime of life.' Concreted 
and focussed of late by the attraction of a girl's undoubted 
beauty, it had become a veritable prepossession. 

And this girl was French, not likely to lose her head, or 
accept any unlegalised position. Moreover, Soames him- 
self disliked the thought of that. He had tasted of the 
sordid side of sex during those long years of forced celibacy, 
secretively, and always with disgust, for he was fastidious, 
and his sense of law and order innate. He wanted no hole 
and corner liaison. A marriage at the Embassy in Paris, 
a few months' travel, and he could bring Annette back 
quite separated from a past which in truth was not too 


distinguished, for she only kept the accounts in her 
mother's Soho Restaurant; he could bring her back as some- 
thing very new and chic with her French taste and self- 
possession, to reign at ' The Shelter ' near Mapledurham. 
On Forsyte 'Change and among his riverside friends it 
would be current that he had met a charming French girl 
on his travels and married her. There would be the flavour 
of romance, and a certain cachet about a French wife. No ! 
He was not at all afraid of that; it was only this cursed 
undivorced condition of his, and — and the question whether 
Annette would take him, which he dared not put to the 
touch until he had a clear and even dazzling future to 
offer her. 

In his aunts' drav/ing-room he heard with but muffled 
ears those usual questions: How was his dear father ? Not 
going out, of course, now that the weather was turning 
chilly ? Would Soames be sure to tell him that Hester 
had found boiled holly leaves most comforting for that pain 
in her side; a poultice every three hours, with red flannel 
afterwards. And could he relish just a little pot of their 
very best prune preserve — it was so delicious this year, and 
had such a wonderful effect. Oh ! and about the Darties — 
had Soames heard that dear Winifred was having a most 
distressing time with Montagu ? Timothy thought she 
really ought to have protection. It was said — but Soames 
mustn't take this for certain — that he had given some of 
Winifred's jewellery to a dreadful dancer. It was such a 
bad example for dear Val just as he was going to college. 
Soames had not heard ? Oh, but he must go and see his 
sister and look into it at once ! And did he think these 
Boers were really going to resist ? Timothy was in quite a 
stew about it. The price of Consols was so high, and he had 
such a lot of money in them. Did Soames think they must 
go down if there was a war ? Soames nodded. But it would 


be over very quickly. It would be so bad for Timothy if 
it wasn't. And of course Soames' dear father would feel 
it very much at his age. Luckily poor dear Roger had been 
spared this dreadful anxiety. And Aunt Juley with a little 
handkerchief wiped away the large tear trying to climb 
the permanent pout on her now quite withered left cheek; 
she was remembering dear Roger, and all his originality, 
and how he used to stick pins into her when they were little 
together. Aunt Hester, with her instinct for avoiding the 
unpleasant, here chimed in: Did Soames think they would 
make Mr. Chamberlain Prime Minister at once ? He would 
settle it all so quickly. She would like to see that old 
Kruger sent to St. Helena. She could remember so well 
the news of Napoleon's death, and what a relief it had been 
to his grandfather. Of course she and Juley — " We were in 
pantalettes then, my dear " — had not felt it much at the 

Soames took a cup of tea from her, drank it quickly, and ate 
three of those macaroons for which Timothy's was famous. 
His faint, pale, supercilious smile had deepened just a little. 
Really, his family remained hopelessly provincial, however 
much of London they might possess between them. In 
these go-ahead days their provincialism stared out even more 
than it used to. Why, old Nicholas was still a Free Trader, 
and a member of that antediluvian home of Liberalism, 
the Remove Club — though, to be sure, the members were 
pretty well all Conservative now, or he himself could not 
have joined; and Timothy, they said, still wore a nightcap. 
Aunt Juley spoke again. Dear Soames was looking so well, 
hardly a day older than he did when dear Ann died, and they 
were all there together, dear Jolyon, and dear Swithin, 
and dear Roger. She paused and caught the tear which had 
climbed the pout on her right cheek. Did he — did he ever 
hear anything of Irene nowadays ? Aunt Hester visibly 


interposed her shoulder. Really, Juley was always saying 
something ! The smile left Soames' face, and he put his 
cup down. Here was his subject broached for him, and for 
all his desire to expand, he could not take advantage. 

Aunt Juley went on rather hastily: 

" They say dear Jolyon first left her that fifteen thousand 
out and out; then of course he saw it would not be right, 
and made it for her life only." 

Had Soames heard that ? 

Soames nodded. 

" Your cousin Jolyon is a widower now. He is her trustee ; 
you knew that, of course ?" 

Soames shook his head. He did know, but wished to show 
no interest. Young Jolyon and he had not met since the 
day of Bosinney's death, 

" He must be quite middle-aged by now," went on Aunt 
Juley dreamily. " Let me see, he was born when your dear 
uncle lived in Mount Street; long before they went to 
Stanhope Gate — in December '48, the year of the Commune. 
He must be fifty ! Fancy that ! Such a pretty baby, and 
we were all so proud of him; the very first of you all." 
Aunt Juley sighed, and a lock of not quite her own hair 
came loose and straggled, so that Aunt Hester gave a little 
shiver. Soames rose, he was experiencing a curious piece of 
self-discovery. That old wound to his pride and self-esteem 
was not yet closed. He had come thinking he could talk 
of it, even wanting to talk of his fettered condition, and — 
behold ! he was shrinking away from this reminder by Aunt 
Juley, renowned for her Malapropisms. 

Oh, Soames was not going already ! 

Soames smiled a little vindictively, and said: 

" Yes. Good-bye. Remember me to Uncle Timothy ! " 
And, leaving a cold kiss on each forehead, whose wrinkles 
seemed to try and cling to his lips as if longing to be kissed 


away, he left them looking brightly after him — dear Soames, 
it had been so good of him to come to-day, when they were 

not feeling very ! 

With compunction tweaking at his chest Soames descended 
the stairs, where was always that rather pleasant smell of 
camphor and port wine, and house where draughts are not 
permitted. The poor old things — he had not meant to be 
unkind ! And in the street he instantly forgot them, re- 
possessed by the image of Annette and the thought of the 
cursed coil around him. Why had he not pushed the 
thing through and obtained divorce when that wretched 
Bosinney was run over, and there was evidence galore for the 
asking ! And he turned towards his sister Winifred Dartie's 
residence in Green Street, Mayfair. 



That a man of the world so subject to the vicissitudes of 
fortune as Montagu Dartie should still be living in a house 
he had inhabited twenty years at least would have been more 
noticeable if the rent, rates, taxes, and repairs of that house 
had not been defrayed by his father-in-law. By that simple 
if wholesale device James Forsyte had secured a certain 
stability in the lives of his daughter and his grandchildren. 
After all, there is something invaluable about a safe roof 
over the head of a sportsman so dashing as Dartie. Until 
the events of the last few days he had been almost super- 
naturally steady all this year. The fact was he had acquired 
a half share in a filly of George Forsyte's, who had gone 
irreparably on the turf, to the horror of Roger, now stilled 
by the grave. Sleeve-links, by Martyr, out of Shirt-on-fire, 
by Suspender, was a bay filly, three years old, who for a 
variety of reasons had never shown her true form. With half 
ownership of this hopeful animal, all the idealism latent 
somewhere in Dartie, as in every other man, had put up its 
head, and kept him quietly ardent for months past. When 
a man has something good to live for it is astonishing how 
sober he becomes; and what Dartie had was really good — a 
three to one chance for an autumn handicap, publicly 
assessed at twenty-five to one. The old-fashioned heaven 
was a poor thing beside it, and his shirt was on the daughter 
of Shirt-on-fire. But how much more than his shirt de- 
pended on this granddaughter of Suspender ! At that 
roving age of forty-five, trying to Forsytes — and, though 



perhaps less distinguishable from any other age, trying even 
to Darties — Montagu had fixed his current fancy on a 
dancer. It was no mean passion, but without money, and a 
good deal of it, likely to remain a love as airy as her skirts; 
and Dartie never had any money, subsisting miserably on 
what he could beg or borrow from Winifred — a woman of 
character, who kept him because he was the father of her 
children, and from a lingering admiration for those now- 
dying Wardour Street good looks which in their youth had 
fascinated her. She, together with anyone else who would 
lend him anything, and his losses at cards and on the turf, 
(extraordinary how some men make a good thing out of 
losses), were his whole means of subsistence; for James was 
now too old and nervous to approach, and Soames too 
formidably adamant. It is not too much to say that Dartie 
had been living on hope for months. He had never been 
fond of money for itself, had always despised the Forsytes 
with their investing habits, though careful to make such 
use of them as he could. What he liked about money was 
what it bought — personal sensation. 

" No real sportsman cares for money," he would say, 
borrowing a ' pony ' if it was no use trying for a ' monkey.' 
There was something delicious about Montagu Dartie. He 
was, as George Forsyte said, a ' daisy.' 

The morning of the Handicap dawned clear and bright, 
the last day of September, and Dartie, who had travelled 
to Newmarket the night before, arrayed himself in spotless 
checks and walked to an eminence to see his half of the filly 
take her final canter. If she won he would be a cool three 
thou, in pocket — a poor enough recompense for the sobriety 
and patience of these weeks of hope, while they had been 
nursing her for this race. But he had not been able to afford 
more. Should he ' lay it off ' at the eight to one to which 
she had advanced i This was his single thought while the 


larks sang above him, and the grassy downs smelled sweet, 
and the pretty filly passed, tossing her head and glowing like 
satin. After all, if he lost it would not be he who paid, 
and to ' lay it off ' would reduce his winnings to some fifteen 
hundred — hardly enough to purchase a dancer out and out. 
Even more potent was the itch in the blood of all the Darties 
for a real flutter. And turning to George he said: " She's 
a clipper. She'll win hands down; I shall go the whole 
hog." George, who had laid off every penny, and a few 
besides, and stood to win, however it came out, grinned down 
on him from his bulky height, with the words: " So ho, my 
wild one ! " for after a chequered apprenticeship weathered 
with the money of a deeply complaining Roger, his Forsyte 
blood was beginning to stand him in good stead in the pro- 
fession of owner. 

There are moments of disillusionment in the lives of men 
from which the sensitive recorder shrinks. Suffice it to say 
that the good thing fell down. Sleeve links finished in the 
ruck. Dartie's shirt was lost. 

Between the passing of these things, and the day when 
Soames turned his face towards Green Street, what had not 
happened ! 

When a man with the constitution of Montagu Dartie 
has exercised self-control for months from religious motives, 
and remains unrewarded, he does not curse God and die, 
he curses God and lives, to the distress of his family. 

Winifred — a plucky woman, if a little too fashionable — 
who had borne the brunt of him for exactly twenty-one 
years, had never really believed that he would do what he 
now did. Like so many wives, she thought she knew the 
worst, but she had not yet known him in his forty-fifth 
year, when he, like other men, felt that it was now or never. 
Paying on the 2nd of October a visit of inspection to her 
jewel case, she was horrified to observe that her woman's 


crown and glory was gone — the pearls which Montagu 
had given her in '85, when Benedict was born, and which 
James had been compelled to pay for in the spring of '87, 
to save scandal. She consulted her husband at once. He 
' pooh-poohed ' the matter. They would turn up ! Nor 
till she said sharply: "Very well, then, Monty, I shall go 
down to Scotland Yard myself,''' did he consent to take the 
matter in hand. Alas ! that the steady and resolved con- 
tinuity of design necessary to the accomplishment of sweep- 
ing operations should be liable to interruption by drink. 
That night Dartie returned home without a care in the 
world or a particle of reticence. Under normal conditions 
Winifred would merely have locked her door and let him 
sleep it off, but torturing suspense about her pearls had 
caused her to wait up for him. Taking a small revolver 
from his pocket and holding on to the dining table, he told 
her at once that he did not care a cursh whether she lived 
s'long as she was quiet; but he himself wash tired o' life. 
Winifred, holding on to the other side of the dining table, 
answered : 

" Don't be a clown, Monty. Have you been to Scotland 

Placing the revolver against his chest, Dartie had pulled 
the trigger several times. It was not loaded. Dropping it 
with an imprecation, he had muttered : " For shake o' the 
children," and sank into a chair. Winifred, having picked 
up the revolver, gave him some soda water. The liquor had 
a magical effect. Life had ill-used him; Winifred had never 
' unshtood'm.' If he hadn't the right to take the pearls 
he had given her himself, who had ? That Spanish filly 
had got'm. If Winifred had any 'jection he w'd cut — her — 
throat. What was the matter with that ? (Probably the 
first use of that celebrated phrase — so obscure are the origins 
of even the most classical language !} 



Winifred, who had learned self-containment in a hard 
school, looked up at him, and said: " Spanish filly ! Do 
you mean that girl we saw dancing in the Pandemonium 
Ballet ? Well, you are a thief and a blackguard." It had 
been the last straw on a sorely loaded consciousness; reaching 
up from his chair Dartie seized his wife's arm, and recalling 
the achievements of his boyhood, twisted it. Winifred 
endured the agony with tears in her eyes, but no murmur. 
Watching for a moment of weakness, she wrenched it free; 
then placing the dining table between them, said between 
her teeth: " You are the limit, Monty." (Undoubtedly the 
inception of that phrase — so is English formed under the 
stress of circumstance.) Leaving Dartie with foam on his 
dark moustache she went upstairs, and, after locking her door 
and bathing her arm in hot water, lay awake all night, 
thinking of her pearls adorning the neck of another, and of the 
consideration her husband had presumably received therefor. 
The man of the world awoke with a sense of being lost to 
that world, and a dim recollection of having been called a 
' limit.' He sat for half an hour in the dawn and the 
armchair where he had slept — perhaps the unhappiest 
half-hour he had ever spent, for even to a Dartie there is 
something tragic about an end And he knew that he had 
reached it. Never again would he sleep in his dining-room 
and wake with the light filtering through those curtains 
bought by Winifred at Nickens and Jarveys with the money 
of James. Never again eat a devilled kidney at that rose- 
wood table, after a roll in the sheets and a hot bath. He 
took his note case from his dress coat pocket. Four hundred 
pounds, in fives and tens — the remainder of the proceeds 
of his half of Sleeve-links, sold last night, cash down, to 
George Forsyte, who, having won over the race, had not 
conceived the sudden dislike to the animal which he himself 
now felt. The ballet was going to Buenos Aires the day 


after to-morrow, and he was going too. Full value for the 
pearls had not yet been received; he was only at the soup. 

He stole upstairs. Not daring to have a bath, or shave 
(besides, the water would be cold), he changed his clothes 
and packed stealthily all he could. It was hard to leave 
so many shining boots, but one must sacrifice something. 
Then, carrying a valise in either hand, he stepped out on 
to the landing. The house was very quiet — that house 
where he had begotten his four children. It was a curious 
moment, this, outside the room of his wife, once admired, 
if not perhaps loved, who had called him ' the limit.' He 
steeled himself with that phrase, and tiptoed on; but the 
next door was harder to pass. It was the room his daughters 
slept in. Maud was at school, but Imogen would be lying 
there; and moisture came into Dartie's early morning eyes. 
She was the most like him of the four, with her dark hair, 
and her luscious brown glance. Just coming out, a pretty 
thing ! He set down the two valises. This almost formal 
abdication of fatherhood hurt him. The morning light 
fell on a face which worked with real emotion. Nothing 
so false as penitence moved him; but genuine paternal 
feeling, and that melancholy of ' never again.' He moist- 
ened his lips; and complete irresolution for a moment 
paralysed his legs in their check trousers. It was hard — hard 
to be thus compelled to leave his home ! " D— n it !" he 
muttered, "I never thought it would come to this." Noises 
above warned him that the maids were beginning to get up. 
And grasping the two valises, he tiptoed on downstairs. 
His cheeks were wet, and the knowledge of that was com- 
forting, as though it guaranteed the genuineness of his 
sacrifice. He lingered a little in the rooms below, to pack 
all the cigars he had, some papers, a crush hat, a silver 
cigarette box, a Ruff's Guide. Then, mixing himself a 
stiff whisky and soda, and lighting a cigarette, he stood 


hesitating before a photograph of his two girls, in a silver 
frame. It belonged to Winifred. ' Never mind,' he 
thought; ' she can get another taken, and I can't !' He 
sHpped it into the valise. Then, putting on his hat and 
overcoat, he took two others, his best malacca cane, an um- 
brella, and opened the front door. Closing it softly behind 
him, he walked out, burdened as he had never been in all his 
life, and made his way round the corner to wait there for 
an early cab to come by. . . . 

Thus had passed Montagu Dartie in the forty-fifth year 
of his age from the house which he had called his own. . . . 

When W^inifred came down, and realised that he was not 
in the house, her first feeling was one of dull anger that he 
should thus elude the reproaches she had carefully prepared 
in those long wakeful hours. He had gone off to Newmarket 
or Brighton, with that woman as likely as not. Disgusting ! 
Forced to a complete reticence before Imogen and the 
servants, and aware that her father's nerves would never 
stand the disclosure, she had been unable to refrain from 
going to Timothy's that afternoon, and pouring out the 
story of the pearls to Aunts Juley and Hester in utter confi- 
dence. It was only on the following morning that she 
noticed the disappearance of that photograph. What did 
it mean ? Careful examination of her husband's relics 
prompted the thought that he had gone for good. As that 
conclusion hardened she stood quite still in the middle of 
his dressing-room, with all the drawers pulled out, to try 
and realise what she was feeling. By no means easy ! 
Though he was ' the limit ' he was yet her property, and 
for the life of her she could not but feel the poorer. To be 
widowed yet not widowed at forty -two; with four children; 
made conspicuous, an object of commiseration ! Gone to 
the arms of a Spanish jade ! Memories, feelings, which she 
had thought quite dead, revived within her, painful, sullen, 


tenacious. Mechanically she closed drawer after drawer, 
went to her bed, lay on it, and buried her face in the pillows. 
She did not cry. What was the use of that ? When she 
got off her bed to go down to lunch she felt as if only one 
thing could do her good, and that was to have Val home. 
He — her eldest boy — who was to go to Oxford next month 
at James' expense, was at Littlehampton taking his final 
gallops with his trainer for Smalls, as he would have phrased 
it following his father's diction. She caused a telegram to 
be sent to him. 

" I must see about his clothes," she said to Imogen; " I 
can't have him going up to Oxford all anyhow. Those 
boys are so particular." 

" Val's got heaps of things," Imogen answered. 

" I know; but they want overhauling. I hope he'll come." 

" He'll come like a shot, Mother. But he'll probably 
skew his Exam." 

" I can't help that," said Winifred. " I want him." 

With an innocent shrewd look at her mother's face, 
Imogen kept silence. It was father, of course ! Val did 
come ' like a shot ' at six o'clock. 

Imagine a cross between a pickle and a Forsyte and you 
have young Publius Valerius Dartie. A youth so named 
could hardly turn out otherwise. When he was born, 
Winifred, in the heyday of spirits, and the craving for dis- 
tinction, had determined that her children should have 
names such as no others had ever had. (It was a mercy — 
she felt now — that she had just not named Imogen Thisbe.) 
But it was to George Forsyte, always a wag, that Val's christ- 
ening was due. It so happened that Dartie dining with him, 
a week after the birth of his son and heir, had mentioned this 
aspiration of Winifred's. 

" Call him Cato," said George, " it'll be damned piquant !" 
He had just won a tenner on a horse of that name. 


" Cato !" Dartie had replied — they were a little ' on ' 
as the phrase was even in those days — " it's not a Christian 

" Hallo you !" George called to a waiter in knee breeches. 
*' Bring me the Encyc^fedia Brit, from the Library, letter C." 

The waiter brought it. 

" Here you are !" said George, pointing with his cigar: 
" Cato — Publius Valerius by Virgil out of Lydia. That's 
what you want. Publius Valerius is Christian enough." 

Dartie, on arriving home, had informed Winifred. She 
had been charmed. It was so ' chic' And Publius 
Valerius became the baby's name, though it afterwards 
transpired that they had got hold of the inferior Cato. 
In 1890, however, when little Publius was nearly ten, the 
word ' chic ' went out of fashion, and sobriety came in ; 
Winifred began to have doubts. They were confirmed by 
little Publius himself v/ho returned from his first term at 
school complaining that life was a burden to him — they 
called him Pubby. Winifred — a woman of real decision — 
promptly changed his school and his name to Val, the 
Publius being dropped even as an initial. 

At nineteen he was a limber, freckled youth with a wide 
mouth, light eyes, long dark lashes, a rather charming smile, 
considerable knowledge of what he should not know, and no 
experience of what he ought to do. Few boys had more 
narrowly escaped being expelled — the engaging rascal. 
After kissing his mother and pinching Imogen, he ran upstairs 
three at a time, and came down four, dressed for dinner. 
He was awfully sorry, but his ' trainer,' who had come up 
too, had asked him to dine at the Oxford and Cambridge; 
it wouldn't do to miss — the old chap would be hurt. Wini- 
fred let him go with an unhappy pride. She had wanted 
him at home, but it was very nice to know that his tutor was 
so fond of him. He went out with a wink at Imogen, saying: 


" I say, Mother, could I have two plover's eggs when I 
come in ? — cook's got some. They top up so jolly well. 
Oh ! and look here — have you any money ? — I had to borrow 
a fiver from old Snobby." 

Winifred, looking at him with fond shrewdness, answered: 

" My dear, you are naughty about money. But you 
shouldn't pay him to-night, anyway; you're his guest." 
How nice and slim he looked in his white waistcoat, and 
his dark thick lashes ! 

" Oh, but we may go to the theatre, you see. Mother; 
and I think I ought to stand the tickets; he's always hard 
up, you know." 

W'inifred produced a five-pound note, saying: 

" Well, perhaps you'd better pay him, but you mustn't 
stand the tickets too." 

Val pocketed the fiver. 

" If I do, I can't," he said. " Good-night, Mum !" 

He went out with his head up and his hat cocked joyously, 
snifl^ing the air of Piccadilly like a young hound loosed into 
covert. Jolly good biz ! After that mouldy old slow hole 
down there ! 

He found his ' tutor,' not indeed at the Oxford and Cam- 
bridge, but at the Goat's Club. This ' tutor ' was a vear 
older than himself, a good-looking youth, with fine brown 
eyes, and smooth dark hair, a small mouth, an oval face, 
languid, immaculate, cool to a degree, one of those young 
men who without effort establish moral ascendancy over 
their companions. He had missed being expelled from 
school a year before Val, had spent that year at Oxford, 
and Val could almost see a halo round his head. His name 
was Crum, and no one could get through money quicker. 
It seemed to be his only aim in life — dazzling to young Val, 
in whom, however, the Forsyte would stand apart, now and 
then, wondering where the value for that money was. 


They dined quietly, in style and taste; left the Club smok- 
ing cigars, with just two bottles inside them, and dropped 
into stalls at the Liberty. For Val the sound of comic 
songs, the sight of lovely legs were fogged and interrupted 
by haunting fears that he would never equal Crum's quiet 
dandyism. His idealism was roused; and when that is so, 
one is never quite at ease. Surely he had too wide a mouth, 
not the best cut of waistcoat, no braid on his trousers, and 
his lavender gloves had no thin black stitchings down the 
back. Besides, he laughed too much — Crum never laughed, 
he only smiled, with his regular dark brows raised a little so 
that they formed a gable over his just drooped lids. No ! he 
would never be Crum's equal. All the same it was a jolly 
good show, and Cynthia Dark simply ripping. Between 
the acts Crum regaled him with particulars of Cynthia's 
private life, and the awful knowledge became Val's that, 
if he liked, Crum could go behind. He simply longed to 
say: " I say, take me !" but dared not, because of his 
deficiencies; and this made the last act or two almost 
miserable. On coming out Crum said: " It's half an hour 
before they close; let's go on to the Pandemonium." They 
took a hansom to travel the hundred yards, and seats cost- 
ing seven-and-six apiece because they were going to stand, 
and walked into the Promenade. It was in these little things, 
this utter negligence of money, that Crum had such engaging 
polish. The ballet was on its last legs and night, and the 
traffic of the Promenade was suffering for the moment. 
Men and women were crowded in three rows against the 
barrier. The whirl and dazzle on the stage, the half dark, the 
mingled tobacco fumes and w^omen's scent, all that curious 
lure to promiscuity which belongs to Promenades, began 
to free young Val from his idealism. He looked admiringly 
in a young woman's face, saw she was not young, and quickly 
looked away. Shades of Cynthia Dark ! The young 


woman's arm touched his unconsciously; there was a scent 
of musk and mignonette. Val looked round the corner of 
his lashes. Perhaps she was young, after all. Her foot trod 
on his; she begged his pardon. He said: 

" Not at all; jolly good ballet, isn't it ?" 

" Oh, I'm tired of it; aren't you ?" 

Young Val smiled — his wide, rather charming smile. 

Beyond that he did not go — not yet convinced. The 

Forsyte in him stood out for greater certainty. And on 

the stage the ballet whirled its kaleidoscope of snow-white, 

salmon-pink, and emerald -green, and violet, and seemed 

suddenly to freeze into a stilly spangled pyramid. Applause 

broke out, and it was over ! Maroon curtains had cut it 

off. The semi-circle of men and women round the barrier 

broke up, the young woman's arm pressed his. A little 

way off disturbance seemed centring round a man with a 

pink carnation; Val stole another glance at the young 

woman, who was looking towards it. Three men, unsteady, 

emerged, walking arm in arm. The one in the centre wore 

the pink carnation, a white waistcoat, a dark moustache; 

he reeled a little as he walked. Crum's voice said slow and 

level: " Look at that bounder, he's screwed !" Val turned 

to look. The ' bounder ' had disengaged his arm, and was 

pointing straight at them. Crum's voice, level as ever, ssid: 

" He seems to know you !" The ' bounder ' spoke: 

" H'llo !" he said. " You f'llows, look ! There's my 

young rascal of a son !" 

Val saw. It was his father ! He could have sunk into 
the crimson carpet. It was not the meeting in this place, 
not even that his father was * screwed '; it was Crum's word 
* bounder,' which, as by heavenly revelation, he perceived 
at that moment to be true. Yes, his father looked a bounder 
with his dark good looks, and his pink carnation, and his 
square, self-assertive walk. And without a word he ducked 


behind the young woman and slipped out of the promenade. 
He heard the word, " Val !" behind him, and ran down 
deep -carpeted steps past the ' chuckers-out,' into the Square, 
To be ashamed of his own father is perhaps the bitterest 
experience a young man can go through. It seemed to 
Val, hurrying away, that his career had ended before it had 
begun. How could he go up to Oxford now amongst all 
those chaps, those splendid friends of Crum's, who would 
know that his father was a ' bounder '! And suddenly he 
hated Crum. Who the devil was Crum, to say that ? If Crum 
had been beside him at that moment, he would certainly 
have been jostled off the pavement. His own father — his 
own ! A choke came up in his throat, and he dashed his 
hands down deep into his overcoat pockets. Damn Crum ! 
He conceived the wild idea of running back and finding his 
father, taking him by the arm and walking about with him 
in front of Crum; but gave it up at once and pursued his 
way down Piccadilly. A young woman planted herself 
before him. " Not so angry, darling !" He shied, dodged 
her, and suddenly became quite cool. If Crum ever said a 
word, he would jolly well punch his head, and there would 
be an end of it. He walked a hundred yards or more, 
contented with that thought, then lost its comfort utterly. 
It wasn't simple like that ! He remembered how, at school, 
when some parent came down who did not pass the standard, 
it just clung to the fellow afterwards. It was one of those 
things nothing could remove. Why had his mother married 
his father, if he was a ' bounder ' .'' It was bitterly unfair 
— jolly low-down on a fellow to give him a ' bounder ' for 
father. The worst of it was that now Crum had spoken the 
word, he realised that he had long known subconsciously 
that his father was not ' the clean potato.' It was the 
beastliest thing that had ever happened to him — beastliest 
thing that had ever happened to any fellow ! And, down- 


hearted as he had never yet been, he came to Green Street, 
and let himself in with a smuggled latchkey. In the dining- 
room his plover's eggs were set invitingly, with some cut 
bread and butter, and a little whisky at the bottom of a 
decanter — just enough, as Winifred had thought, for him 
to feel himself a man. It made him sick to look at them, 
and he went upstairs. 

Winifred heard him pass, and thought: " The dear boy's 
in. Thank goodness ! If he takes after his father I don't 
know what I shall do ! But he won't — he's like me. Dear 
Val !" 



When Soames entered his sister's little Louis Quinze drawing- 
room, with its small balcony, always flowered with hanging 
geraniums in the summer, and now with pots of Lilium 
Auratum, he was struck by the immutability of human 
affairs. It looked just the same as on his first visit to the 
newly married Darties twenty-one years ago. He had 
chosen the furniture himself, and so completely that no 
subsequent purchase had ever been able to change the 
room's atmosphere. Yes, he had founded his sister well, 
and she had wanted it. Indeed, it said a great deal for 
Winifred that after all this time with Dartie she remained 
well-founded. From the first Soames had nosed out 
Dartie's nature from underneath the plausibility, savoir 
faire, and good looks which had dazzled Winifred, her 
mother, and even James, to the extent of permitting the 
fellow to marry his daughter without bringing anything into 
settlement — a fatal thing to do. 

Winifred, whom he noticed next to the furniture, was 
sitting at her Buhl bureau with a letter in her hand. She 
rose and came towards him. Tall as himself, strong in the 
cheekbones, well tailored, something in her face disturbed 
Soames. She crumpled the letter in her hand, but seemed 
to change her mind and held it out to him. He was her 
lawyer as well as her brother. 

Soames read, on Iseeum Club paper, these words: 

" You will not get chance to insult in my own again. I 

am leaving country to-morrow. It's played out. I'm 



tired of being insulted by you. You've brought on yourself. 
No self-respecting man can stand it. I shall not ask you for 
anything again. Good-bye. I took the photograph of the 
two girls. Give them my love. I don't care what your 
family say. It's all their doing. I'm going to live new life. 

" M. D." 

This after-dinner note had a splotch on it not yet quite 
dry. He looked at Winifred — the splotch had clearly come 
from her; and he checked the words: " Good riddance!" 
Then it occurred to him that with this letter she was enter- 
ing that very state which he himself so earnestly desired to 
quit — the state of a Forsyte who was not divorced. 

Winifred had turned away, and was taking a long sniff 
from a little gold-topped bottle. A dull commiseration, 
together with a vague sense of injury, crept about Soames' 
heart. He had come to her to talk of his own position, and 
get sympathy, and here was she in the same position, wanting 
of course to talk of it, and get sympathy from him. It 
was always like that ! Nobody ever seemed to think that 
he had troubles and interests of his own. He folded up the 
letter with the splotch inside, and said: 

" What's it all about, now ?" 

Winifred recited the story of the pearls calmly. 

" Do you think he's really gone, Soames ? You see the 
state he was in when he wrote that." 

Soames who, when he desired a thing, placated Providence 
by pretending that he did not think it likely to happen, 

" I shouldn't think so. I might find out at his Club." 

" If George is there," said Winifred, " he would know." 

"George?" said Soames; "I saw him at his father's 

" Then he's sure to be there." 


Soames, whose good sense applauded his sister's acumen, 
said grudgingly: " Well, I'll go round. Have you said 
anything in Park Lane?" 

" I've told Emily," returned Winifred, who retained that 
' chic ' way of describing her mother. " Father would 
have a fit." 

Indeed, anything untoward was now sedulously kept 
from James. With another look round at the furniture, 
as if to gauge his sister's exact position, Soames went out 
towards Piccadilly. The evening was drawing in — a touch 
of chill in the October haze. He walked quickly, with his 
close and concentrated air. He must get through, for he 
wished to dine in Soho. On hearing from the hall porter 
at the Iseeum that Mr. Dartie had not been in to-day, 
he looked at the trusty fellow and decided only to ask if 
Mr. George Forsyte was in the Club He was. Soames, 
who always looked askance at his cousin George, as one 
inclined to jest at his expense, followed the page-boy slightly 
reassured by the thought that George had just lost his father. 
He must have come in for about thirty thousand, besides 
what he had under that settlement of Roger's, which had 
avoided death duty. He found George in a bow-window, 
staring out across a half-eaten plate of muffins. His tall, 
bulky, black-clothed figure loomed almost threatening, 
though preserving still the supernatural neatness of the 
racing man. With a faint grin on his fleshy face, he 

" Hallo, Soames ! Have a mufiin ?" 

" No, thanks," murmured Soames; and, nursing his hat, 
with the desire to say something suitable and sympathetic, 

" How's your mother ?" 

"Thanks," said George; "so-so. Haven't seen you for 
ages. You never go racing. How's the City ?" 


Soames, scenting the approach of a jest, closed up, and 

" I wanted to ask you about Dartie. I hear he's " 

" Flitted, made a bolt to Buenos Aires with the fair Lola. 
Good for Winifred and the Httle Darties. He's a treat." 

Soames nodded. Naturally inimical as these cousins 
were, Dartie made them kin. 

*' Uncle James'll sleep in his bed now," resumed George; 
" I suppose he's had a lot off you, too." 

Soames smiled. 

" Ah ! You saw him further," said George amicably. 
" He's a real rouser. Young Val will want a bit of looking 
after. I was always sorry for Winifred. She's a plucky 


Again Soames nodded. " I must be getting back to her,*' 
he said ; " she just wanted to know for certain. We may have 
to take steps. I suppose there's no mistake ?" 

" It's quite O.K.," said George — it was he who invented 
so many of those quaint sayings which have been assigned 
to other sources. " He was drunk as a lord last night; but 
he went oH all right this morning. His ship's the Tuscarora ;" 
and, fishing out a card, he read mockingly: 

" ' Mr. Montagu Dartie, Poste Restante, Buenos Aires.' 
I should hurry up with the steps, if I were you. He fairly 
fed me up last night." 

" Yes," said Soames; " but it's not always easy." Then, 
conscious from George's eyes that he had roused reminis- 
cence of his own affair, he got up, and held out his hand. 
George rose too. 

" Remember me to Winifred. You'll enter her for the 
Divorce Stakes straight off if you ask me." 

Soames took a sidelong look back at him from the doorway. 
George had seated himself again and was staring before him; 
he looked big and lonely in those black clothes. Soames 


had never known him so subdued. ' I suppose he feels it in 
a way,' he thought. ' They must have about fifty thousand 
each, all told. They ought to keep the estate together. 
If there's a war, house property will go down. Uncle 
Roger was a good judge, though.' And the face of Annette 
rose before him in the darkening street; her brown hair 
and her blue eyes with their dark lashes, her fresh lips and 
cheeks, dewy and blooming in spite of London, her perfect 
French figure. ' Take steps !' he thought. Re-entering 
Winifred's house he encountered Val, and they went in 
together. An idea had occurred to Soames. His cousin 
Jolyon was Irene's trustee, the first step would be to go 
down and see him at Robin Hill. Robin Hill ! The odd — 
the very odd feeling those words brought back ! Robin Hill 
— the house Bosinney had built for him and Irene — the 
house they had never lived in — the fatal house ! And 
Jolyon lived there now ! H'm ! And suddenly he thought : 
* They say he's got a boy at Oxford ! Why not take young 
Val down and introduce them ! It's an excuse ! Less 
bald — very much less bald !' So, as they went upstairs, 
he said to Val : 

" You've got a cousin at Oxford; you've never met him. 
I should like to take you down with me to-morrow to where 
he lives and introduce you. You'll find it useful." 

Val, receiving the idea with but moderate transports, 
Soames cHnchcd it. 

" I'll call for you after lunch. It's in the country — not 
far; you'll enjoy it." 

On the threshold of the drawing-room he recalled with 
an effort that the steps he contemplated concerned Winifred 
at the moment, not himself. 

Winifred was still sitting at her Buhl bureau. 

" It's quite true," he said; "he's gone to Buenos Aires, 
started this morning — we'd better have him shadowed when 


lie lands. I'll cable at once. Otherwise we may have a 
lot of expense. The sooner these things are done the better. 

I'm always regretting that I didn't " he stopped, and 

looked sidelong at the silent Winifred. " By the way," he 
went on, " can you prove cruelty ?" 
Winifred said in a dull voice: 
" I don't know. What is cruelty ?" 
" Well, has he struck you, or anything ?" 
Winifred shook herself, and her jaw grew square. 
" He twisted my arm. Or would pointing a pistol count ? 

Or being too drunk to undress himself, or No — I can't 

bring in the children." 

" No," said Soames; " no. I wonder ! Of course, there's 
legal separation — we can get that. But separation ! Um !" 
" What does it mean ?" asked Winifred desolately. 
" That he can't touch you, or you him; you're both of 
you married and unmarried." And again he grunted. 
What was it, in fact, but his own accursed position, legalised ! 
No, he would not put her into that ! 

" It must be divorce," he said decisively; " failing cruelty, 
there's desertion. There's a way of shortening the two 
years, now. We get the Court to give us restitution of 
conjugal rights. Then if he doesn't obey, we can bring a 
suit for divorce in six months' time. Of course you don't 
want him back. But they Avon't know that. Still, there's 
the risk that he might come. I'd rather try cruelty." 
Winifred shook her head. " It's so beastly." 
" Well," Soames murmured, " perhaps there isn't much 
risk so long as he's infatuated and got money. Don't say 
anything to anybody, and don't pay any of his debts." 

Winifred sighed. In spite of all she had been through, 
the sense of loss was heavy on her. And this idea of not 
paying his debts any more brought it home to her as nothing 
else yet had. Some richness seemed to have gone out of life . 


Without her husband, without her pearls, without that 
intimate sense that she made a brave show above the domestic 
whirlpool, she would now have to face the world. She felt 
bereaved indeed. 

And into the chilly kiss he placed on her forehead, Soames 
put more than his usual warmth. 

" I have to go down to Robin Hill to-morrow," he said, 
" to see young Jolyon on business. He's got a boy at 
Oxford. I'd like to take Val with me and introduce him. 
Come down to ' The Shelter ' for the week-end and bring 
the children. Oh ! by the way, no, that won't do; I've got 
some other people coming." So saying, he left her and 
turned towards Soho. 



Of all quarters in the queer adventurous amalgam called 
London, Soho is perhaps least suited to the Forsyte spirit. 
' So-ho, my wild one !' George would have said if he had 
seen his cousin going there. Untidy, full of Greeks, Ish- 
maelites, cats, Italians, tomatoes, restaurants, organs, coloured 
stuffs, queer names, people looking out of upper windows, 
it dwells remote from the British Body Politic. Yet has it 
haphazard proprietory instincts of its own, and a certain 
possessive prosperity which keeps its rents up when those of 
other quarters go down. For long years Soames' acquaint- 
anceship with Soho had been confined to its Western bastion, 
Wardour Street. Many bargains had he picked up there. 
Even during those seven years at Brighton after Bosinney's 
death and Irene's flight, he had bought treasures there 
sometimes, though he had no place to put them; for when 
the conviction that his wife had gone for good at last became 
firm within him, he had caused a board to be put up in 
Montpelier Square: 

The Lease of this Desirable Residence 

Enquire of Messrs. Lesson and Tiikes, Court Street, Belgravia. 

It had sold within a week — that desirable residence, in 
the shadow of whose perfection a man and a woman had eaten 
their hearts out. 

Of a misty January evening, just before the board was 



taken down, Soames had gone there once more, and stood 
against the Square raihngs, looking at its unhghted windows, 
chewing the cud of possessive memories which had turned 
so bitter in the mouth. Why had she never loved him ? 
Why ? She had been given all she had w^anted, and in 
return had given him, for three long years, all he had wanted 
■ — except, indeed, her heart. He had uttered a little in- 
voluntary groan, and a passing policeman had glanced sus- 
piciously at him who no longer possessed the right to enter 
that green door with the carved brass knocker beneath the 
board * For sale !' A choking sensation had attacked his 
throat, and he had hurried away into the mist. That 
evening he had gone to Brighton to live. . . . 

Approaching Malta Street, Soho, and the Restaurant 
Bretagne, where Annette would be drooping her pretty 
shoulders over her accounts, Soames thought with wonder 
of those seven years at Brighton. How had he managed to 
go on so long in that town devoid of the scent of sweet- 
peas, where he had not even space to put his treasures ? 
True, those had been years with no time at all for looking 
at them — years of almost passionate money-making, during 
which Forsyte, Bustard and Forsyte had become solicitors 
to more limited Companies than they could properly attend 
to. Up to the City of a morning in a Pullman car, down 
from the City of an evening in a Pullman car. Law papers 
again after dinner, then the sleep of the tired, and up again 
next morning. Saturday to Monday was spent at his Club 
in town — curious reversal of customary procedure, based 
on the deep and careful instinct that while working so hard 
he needed sea air to and from the station twice a day, and 
while resting must indulge his domestic affections. The 
Sunday visit to his family in Park Lane, to Timothy's, and 
to Green Street; the occasional visits elsewhere had seemed 
to him as necessary to health as sea air on weekdays. Even 

SOHO 37 

since his migration to Mapledurham he had maintained those 
habits until — he had known Annette. Whether Annette 
had produced the revolution in his outlook, or that outlook 
had produced Annette, he knew no more than we know where 
a circle begins. It was intricate and deeply involved with 
the growing consciousness that property without anyone to 
leave it to is the negation of true Forsyteism. To have an 
heir, some continuance of self, who would begin where he 
left off — ensure, in fact, that he would not leave off — had 
quite obsessed him for the last year and more. After 
buying a bit of Wedgwood one evening in April, he had 
dropped into Malta Street to look at a house of his father's 
which had been turned into a restaurant — a risky proceeding, 
and one not quite in accordance with the terms of the lease. 
He had stared for a little at the outside — painted a good 
cream colour, with two peacock-blue tubs containing little 
bay-trees in a recessed doorway — and at the words ' Restaur- 
ant Bretagne ' above them in gold letters, rather favourably 
impressed. Entering, he had noticed that several people 
were already seated at little round green tables with little 
pots of fresh flowers on them and Brittany-ware plates, and 
had asked of a trim waitress to see the proprietor. They 
had shown him into a back room, where a girl was sitting at 
a simple bureau covered with papers, and a small round 
table was laid for two. The impression of cleanliness, order, 
and good taste was confirmed when the girl got up, saying, 
" You wish to see Mamati^ Monsietir f " in a broken accent. 

" Yes," Soames had answered, " I represent your land- 
lord; in fact, I'm his son." 

" Won't you sit down, sir, please ? Tell Maman to 
come to this gentleman." 

He was pleased that the girl seemed impressed, because it 
showed business instinct; and suddenly he noticed that she 
was remarkably pretty — so remarkably pretty that his eyes 


found a difficulty in leaving her face. When she moved to 
put a chair for him, she swayed in a curious subtle way, as 
if she had been put together by someone with a special secret 
skill; and her face and neck, which was a little bared, looked 
as fresh as if they had been sprayed with dew. Probably at 
this moment Soames decided that the lease had not been 
violated; though to himself and his father he based the 
decision on the efficiency of those illicit adaptations in 
the building, on the signs of prosperity, and the obvious 
business capacity of Madame Lamotte. He did not, how- 
ever, neglect to leave certain matters to future consideration, 
which had necessitated further visits, so that the little back 
room had become quite accustomed to his spare, not unsolid, 
but unobtrusive figure, and his pale chinny face with clipped 
moustache and dark hair not yet grizzling at the sides. 

' Un Monsieur tres distingu^^' Madame Lamotte found 
him; and presently, ' Tris amical^ tres gentil,' watching 
his eyes upon her daughter. 

She was one of those generously built, fine-faced, dark- 
haired Frenchwomen, whose every action and tone of voice 
inspire perfect confidence in the thoroughness of their 
domestic tastes, their knowledge of cooking, and the careful 
increase of their bank balances. 

After those visits to the Restaurant Bretagne began, other 
visits ceased — without, indeed, any definite decision, for 
Soames, like all Forsytes, and the great majority of their 
countrymen, was a born empiricist. But it was this 
change in his mode of life which had gradually made him so 
definitely conscious that he desired to alter his condition 
from that of the unmarried married man to that of the 
married man remarried. 

Turning in to Malta Street on this evening of early 
October, 1899, he bought a paper to see if there were any 
after-development of the Dreyfus case — a question which 

SOHO 39 

he had always found useful in making closer acquaintance- 
ship with Madame Lamotte and her daughter, who were 
Catholic and anti-Dreyfusard. 

Scanning those columns, Soames found nothing French, 
but noticed a general fall on the Stock Exchange and an 
ominous leader about the Transvaal. He entered, thinking: 
' War's a certainty. I shall sell my consols.' Not that he 
had many, personally, the rate of interest was too wretched; 
but he should advise his Companies — consols would assuredly 
go down. A look, as he passed the doorways of the restaurant, 
assured him that business was good as ever, and this, which 
in April would have pleased him, now gave him a certain 
uneasiness. If the steps which he had to take ended in his 
marrying Annette, he would rather see her mother safely 
back in France, a move to which the prosperity of the 
Restaurant Bretagne might become an obstacle. He would 
have to buy them out, of course, for French people only came 
to England to make money; and it would mean a higher 
price. And then that peculiar sweet sensation at the back 
of his throat, and a slight thumping about the heart, which 
he always experienced at the door of the little room, pre- 
vented his thinking how much it would cost. 

Going in, he was conscious of an abundant black skirt 
vanishing through the door into the restaurant, and of 
Annette with her hands up to her hair. It was the attitude 
in which of all others he admired her — so beautifully straight 
and rounded and supple. And he said: 

" I just came in to talk to your mother about pulling 
down that partition. No, don't call her." 

" Monsieur will have supper with us ? It will be ready 
in ten minutes." Soames, who still held her hand, was 
overcome by an impulse which surprised him. 

" You look so pretty to-night," he said, " so very pretty. 
Do you know how pretty you look, Annette ?" 


Annette withdrew her hand, and blushed. " Monsieur 
is very good." 

" Not a bit good," said Soames, and sat down gloomily. 

Annette made a little expressive gesture with her hands; 
a smile was crinkling her red lips untouched by salve. 

And, looking at those lips, Soames said: 

" Are you happy over here, or do you want to go back 
to France ?" 

" Oh, I like London. Paris, of course. But London is 
better than Orleans, and the English country is so beautiful. 
I have been to Richmond last Sunday." 

Soames went through a moment of calculating struggle. 
Mapledurham ! Dared he ? After all, dared he go so far 
as that, and show her what there was to look forward to ! 
Still ! Down there one could say things. In this room it 
was impossible. 

" I want you and your mother," he said suddenly, " to 
come for the afternoon next Sunday. My house is on the 
river, it's not too late in this weather; and I can show you 
some good pictures. What do you say ?" 

Annette clasped her hands. 

" It will be lovelee. The river is so beautiful." 

" That's understood, then. I'll ask Madame." 

He need say no more to her this evening, and risk giving 
himself away. But had he not already said too much ? 
Did one ask restaurant proprietors with pretty daughters 
down to one's country house without design ? Madame 
Lamotte would see, if Annette didn't. Well ! there was 
not much that Madame did not see. Besides, this was 
the second time he had stayed to supper with them; he 
owed them hospitality. . . , 

Walking home towards Park Lane — for he was staying at 
his father's — with the impression of Annette's soft clever 
hand within his own, his thoughts were pleasant, slightly 

SOHO 41 

sensual, rather puzzled. Take steps ! What steps ? How ? 
Dirty linen washed in public ? Pah ! With his reputation 
for sagacity, for far-sightedness and the clever extrication of 
others, he, who stood for proprietory interests, to become 
the plaything of that Law of which he was a pillar ! There 
was something revolting in the thought ! Winifred's 
affair was bad enough ! To have a double dose of publicity 
in the family ! Would not a liaison be better than that — 
a liaison, and a son he could adopt ? But dark, solid, 
watchful, Madame Lamotte blocked the avenue of that 
vision. No ! that would not work. It was not as if Annette 
could have a real passion for him; one could not expect that 
at his age. If her mother wished, if the worldly advantage 
were manifestly great — perhaps ! If not, refusal would be 
certain. Besides, he thought: ' I'm not a villain. I don't 
want to hurt her; and I don't want anything underhand. 
But I do want her, and I want a son ! There's nothing for 
it but divorce — somehow — anyhow — divorce !' Under 
the shadow of the plane-trees, in the lamplight, he passed 
slowly along the railings of the Green Park. Mist clung 
there among the bluish tree shapes, beyond range of the 
lamps. How many hundred times he had walked past those 
trees from his father's house in Park Lane, when he was quite 
a young man; or from his own house in Montpelier Square 
in those four years of married life ! And, to-night, making 
up his mind to free himself if he could of that long useless 
marriage tie, he took a fancy to walk on, in at Hyde Park 
Corner, out at Knightsbridge Gate, just as he used to when 
going home to Irene in the old days. What could she be 
like now ? — how had she passed the years since he last saw 
her, twelve years in all, eight already since Uncle Jolyon 
left her that money ! Was she still beautiful ? Would he 
know her if he saw her ? ' I've not changed much,' he 
thought; ' I expect she has. She made me suffer.' He 


remembered suddenly one night, the first on which he went 
out to dinner alone — an old Malburian dinner — the first 
year of their marriage. With what eagerness he had 
hurried back; and, entering softly as a cat, had heard her 
playing. Opening the drawing-room door noiselessly, he had 
stood watching the expression on her face, different from 
any he knew, so much more open, so confiding, as though 
to her music she was giving a heart he had never seen. And 
he remembered how she stopped and looked round, how her 
face changed back to that which he did know, and what an 
icy shiver had gone through him, for all that the next 
moment he was fondling her shoulders. Yes, she had made 
him suffer ! Divorce ! It seemed ridiculous, after all these 
years of utter separation ! But it would have to be. No 
other way ! ' The question,' he thought with sudden 
realism, ' is — which of us ? She or me ? She deserted me. 
She ought to pay for it. There'll be someone, I suppose.' 
Involuntarily he uttered a little snarling sound, and, turning, 
made his way back to Park Lane. 



The butler himself opened the door, and closing it softly, 
detained Soames on the inner mat. 

" The master's poorly, sir," he murmured. " He wouldn't 
go to bed till you came in. He's still in the dining-room." 

Soames responded in the hushed tone to which the house 
was now accustomed. 

" What's the matter with him, Warmson ? " 

" Nervous, sir, I think. Might be the funeral; might 
be Mrs. Dartie's comin' round this afternoon. I think he 
overheard something. I've took him in a negus. The 
mistress has just gone up." 

Soames hung his hat on a mahogany stag's-horn. 

" All right, VVarmson, you can go to bed; I'll take him up 
myself." And he passed into the dining-room. . . . 

James was sitting before the fire, in a big armchair, with a 
camel-hair shawl, very light and warm, over his frock-coated 
shoulders, on to which his long white whiskers drooped. 
His white hair, still fairly thick, glistened in the lamplight; 
a little moisture from his fixed, light grey eyes stained the 
cheeks, still quite well coloured, and the long deep furrows 
running to the corners of the clean-shaven lips, which moved 
as if mumbling thoughts. His long legs, thin as a crow's, in 
shepherd's plaid trousers, were bent at less than a right 
angle, and on one knee a spindly hand moved continually, 
with fingers wide apart and glistening tapered nails. Beside 
him, on a low stool, stood a half-finished glass of negus, 
bedewed with beads of heat. There he had been sitting, 



with intervals for meals, all day. At eighty- eight he was 
still organically sound, but suffering terribly from the 
thought that no one ever told him anything. It is, indeed, 
doubtful how he had become aware that Roger was being 
buried that day, for Emily had kept it from him. She was 
always keeping things from him. Emily was only seventy ! 
James had a grudge against his wife's youth. He felt some- 
times that he would never have married her if he had known 
that she would have so many years before her, when he had 
so few. It was not natural. She would live fifteen or 
twenty years after he was gone, and might spend a lot of 
money; she had always had extravagant tastes. For all he 
knew, she might want to buy one of these motor-cars. 
Cicely and Rachel and Imogen and all the young people — 
they all rode those bicycles now, and went off Goodness 
knew where. And now Roger was gone. He didn't know — 
couldn't tell ! The family was breaking up. Soames would 
know how much his uncle had left. Curiously, he thought of 
Roger as Soames' uncle, not as his own brother. Soames ! 
It was more and more the one solid spot in a vanishing 
world. Soames was careful; he was a warm man; but he 
had no one to leave his money to. There it was ! He 
didn't know ! And there was that fellow Chamberlain ! 
For James' political principles had been fixed between '70 
and '85, when ' that rascally Radical ' had been the chief 
thorn in the side of property, and he distrusted him to this 
day, in spite of his conversion; he would get the country into 
a mess, and make money go down before he had done with it. 
A stormy petrel of a chap ! Where was Soames ? He had 
gone to the funeral, of course, which they had tried to keep 
from him. He knew that perfectly well; he had seen his 
son's trousers. Roger ! Roger in his coffin ! He remem- 
bered how, when they came up from school together from 
the West, on the box seat of the old Slowflyer in 1824, 


Roger had got into the ' boot ' and gone to sleep. James 
uttered a thin cackle. A funny fellow — Roger — an original ! 
He didn't know ! Younger than himself, and in his coffin ! 
The family was breaking up. There was Val going to the 
university; he never came to see him now. He would cost 
a pretty penny up there. It was an extravagant age. And 
all the pretty pennies that his four grandchildren would 
cost him danced before James' eyes. He did not grudge 
them the money, but he grudged terribly the risk which the 
spending of that money might bring on them; he grudged 
the diminution of security. And now that Cicely had married, 
she might be having children too. He didn't know — 
couldn't tell ! Nobody thought of anything but spending 
money in these days, and racing about, and having what they 
called ' a good time.' A motor-car went past the window. 
Ugly great lumbering thing, making all that racket ! But 
there it was, the country rattling to the dogs ! People in 
such a hurry that they couldn't even care for style — a neat 
turn-out like his barouche and bays was worth all those 
new-fangled things. And consols at ii6 ! There must be 
a lot of money in the country. And now there was this old 
Kruger ! They had tried to keep old Kruger from him. 
But he knew better; there would be a pretty kettle of fish 
out there ! He had known how it would be when that fellow 
Gladstone — dead now, thank God ! — made such a mess of it 
after that dreadful business at Majuba. He shouldn't 
wonder if the Empire split up and went to pot. And this 
vision of the Empire going to pot filled a full quarter of an 
hour with qualms of the most serious character. He had 
eaten a poor lunch because of them. But it was after lunch 
that the real disaster to his nerves occurred. He had been 
dozing when he became aware of voices — low voices. Ah ! 
they never told him anything ! Winifred's and her mother's. 
" Monty ! " That fellow Dartie — always that fellow 


Dartie ! The voices had receded; and James had been left 
alone, with his ears standing up like a hare's, and fear creep- 
ing about his inwards. Why did they leave him alone ? 
Why didn't they come and tell him ? And an awful thought, 
which through long years had haunted him, concreted again 
swiftly in his brain. Dartie had gone bankrupt — fraudu- 
lently bankrupt, and to save Winifred and the children, he — 
James — would have to pay ! Could he — could Soames turn 
him into a limited Company f No, he couldn't ! There 
it was ! With every minute before Emily came back the 
spectre fiercened. Why, it might be forgery ! With eyes 
fixed on the doubted Turner in the centre of the wall, 
James suffered tortures. He saw Dartie in the dock, his 
grandchildren in the gutter, and himself in bed. He saw the 
doubted Turner being sold at Jobson's, and all the majestic 
edifice of property in rags. He saw in fancy Winifred 
unfashionably dressed, and heard in fancy Emily's voice 
saying: " Now, don't fuss, James !" She was always 
saying: " Don't fuss !" She had no nerves; he ought never 
to have married a woman eighteen years younger than him- 
self. Then Emily's real voice said: 

" Have you had a nice nap, James ?" 

Nap ! He was in torment, and she asked him that ! 

" What's this about Dartie ? " he said, and his eyes 
glared at her. 

Emily's self-possession never deserted her. 

" What have you been hearing ?" she asked blandly. 

"What's this about Dartie?" repeated James. "He's 
gone bankrupt." 

" Fiddle !" 

James made a great effort, and rose to the full height of 
his stork-like figure. 

"You never tell me anything," he said; "he's gone 


The destruction of that fixed idea seemed to Emily all 
that mattered at the moment. 

" He has not," she answered firmly. " He's gone to 
Buenos Aires." 

If she had said ' He's gone to Mars ' she could not have 
dealt James a more stunning blow; his imagination, invested 
entirely in British securities, could as little grasp one place 
as the other. 

"What's he gone there for?" he said. "He's got no 
money. What did he take?" 

Agitated within by Winifred's news, and goaded by the 
constant reiteration of this jeremiad, Emily said calmly: 

" He took Winifred's pearls and a dancer." 

" What !" said James, and sat down. 

His sudden collapse alarmed her, and smoothing his fore- 
head, she said: 

" Now, don't fuss, James !" 

A dusky red had spread over James' cheeks and forehead. 

" I paid for them," he said tremblingly; " he's a thief! I — 

I knew how it would be. He'll be the death of me; he " 

words failed him and he sat quite still. Emily, who thought 
she knew him so well, was alarmed, and went towards the side- 
board where she kept some sal volatile. She could not see 
the tenacious Forsyte spirit working in that thin, tremulous 
shape against the extravagance of the emotion called up by 
this outrage on Forsyte principles — the Forsyte spirit deep 
in there, saying: ' You mustn't get into a fantod, it'll never 
do. You won't digest your lunch. You'll have a fit !' 
All unseen by her, it was doing better work in James than 
sal volatile. 

" Drink thi^," she said. 

James waved it aside. 

" What was Winifred about," he said, " to let him take 
her pearls ?" Emily perceived the crisis past. 


" She can have mine," she said comfortably. " I never 
wear them. She'd better get a divorce." 

" There you go !" said James. " Divorce ! We've 
never had a divorce in the family. Where's Soames ?" 

" He'll be in directly." 

" No, he won't," said James, almost fiercely; " he's at the 
funeral. You think I know nothing." 

" Well," said Emily with calm, " you shouldn't get into 
such fusses when we tell you things." And plumping up his 
cushions, and putting the sal volatile beside him, she left 
the room. 

But James sat there seeing visions — of Winifred in the 
Divorce Court, and the family name in the papers; of the 
earth falling on Roger's coffin; of Val taking after his father; 
of the pearls he had paid for and would never see again; 
of money back at four per cent., and the country going to the 
dogs; and, as the afternoon wore into evening, and tea-time 
passed, and dinner-time, those visions became more and 
more mixed and menacing — of being told nothing, till he had 
nothing left of all his wealth, and they told him nothing of 
it. Where was Soames ? Why didn't he come in ? . . . 
His hand grasped the glass of negus, he raised it to drink, 
and saw his son standing there looking at him. A little 
sigh of relief escaped his lips, and putting the glass down, 
he said: 

" There you are ! Dartie's gone to Buenos Aires !" 

Soames nodded. "That's all right," he said; "good 

A wave of assuagement passed over James' brain. Soames 
knew. Soames was the only one of them all who had sense. 
Why couldn't he come and live at home ? He had no son 
of his own. And he said plaintively: 

" At my age I get nervous. I wish you were more at 
home, my boy." 


Again Soames nodded; the mask of his countenance 
betrayed no understanding, but he went closer, and as if 
by accident touched his father's shoulder. 

" They sent their love to you at Timothy's," he said. 
" It went off all right. I've been to see \^^mifred. I'm 
going to take steps." And he thought: 'Yes, and you 
mustn't hear of them.' 

James looked up; his long white whiskers quivered, 
his thin throat between the points of his collar looked very 
gristly and naked. 

" I've been very poorly all day," he said; " they never tell 
me anything." 

Soames' heart twitched. 

" Well, it's all right. There's nothing to worry about. 
Will you come up now ?" and he put his hand under his 
father's arm. 

James obediently and tremulously raised himself, and 
together they went slowly across the room, which had a 
rich look in the firelight, and out to the stairs. Very 
slowly they ascended. 

" Good-night, my boy," said James at his bedroom door. 

" Good-night, father," answered Soames. His hand 
stroked down the sleeve beneath the shawl; it seemed to 
have almost nothing in it, so thin was the arm. And, 
turning away from the light in the opening doorway, he went 
up the extra flight to his own bedroom. 

' I want a son,' he thought, sitting on the edge of his 
bed; ' I want a son.* 



Trees take little account of Time, and the old oak on the 
upper lawn at Robin Hill looked no day older than when 
Bosinney sprawled under it and said to Soames: * Forsyte, 
I've found the very place for your house.' Since then 
Swithin had dreamed, and old Jolyon died, beneath its 
branches. And now, close to the swing, no -longer-young 
Jolyon often painted there. Of all spots in the world it 
was perhaps the most sacred to him, for he had loved his 

Contemplating its great girth — crinkled and a little 
mossed, but not yet hollow — he would speculate on the 
passage of time. That tree had seen, perhaps, all real English 
history; it dated, he shouldn't wonder, from the days of 
Elizabeth at least. His own fifty years were as nothing to its 
wood. When the house behind it, which he now owned, 
was three hundred years of age instead of twelve, that tree 
might still be standing there, vast and hollow — for who 
would commit such sacrilege as to cut it down ? A Forsyte 
might perhaps still be living in that house, to guard it 
jealously. And Jolyon would wonder what the house would 
look like coated with such age. Wistaria was already about its 
walls — the new look had gone. Would it hold its own and 
keep the dignity Bosinney had bestowed on it, or would the 
giant London have lapped it round and made it into an 
asylum in fhe midst of a jerry-built wilderness ? Often, 
within and without of it, he was persuaded that Bosinney 
had been moved by the spirit when he built. He had 



put his heart into that house, indeed ! It might even become 
one of the ' homes of England ' — a rare achievement for a 
house in these degenerate days of building. And the 
aesthetic spirit, moving hand in hand with his Forsyte sense 
of possessive continuity, dwelt with pride and pleasure on 
his ownership thereof. There was the smack of reverence 
and ancestor-worship (if only for one ancestor) in his desire 
to hand this house down to his son and his son's son. His 
father had loved the house, had loved the view, the grounds, 
that tree; his last years had been happy there, and no one 
had lived there before him. These last eleven years at 
Robin Hill had formed in Jolyon's life, as a painter, the 
important period of success. He was now in the very van 
of water-colour art, hanging on the line everywhere. His 
drawings fetched high prices. Specialising in that one 
medium with the tenacity of his breed, he had ' arrived ' — 
rather late, but not too late for a member of the family 
which made a point of living for ever. His art had really 
deepened and improved. In conformity with his position 
he had grown a short fair beard, which was Just beginning to 
grizzle, and hid his Forsyte chin; his brown face had lost the 
warped expression of his ostracised period — he looked, if 
anything, younger. The loss of his wife in 1894 had been 
one of those domestic tragedies which turn out in the end 
for the good of all. He had, indeed, loved her to the last, 
for his was an affectionate spirit, but she had become in- 
creasingly difficult: jealous of her step-daughter June, 
jealous even of her own little daughter Holly, and making 
ceaseless plaint that he could not love her, ill as she was, 
and ' useless to everyone, and better dead.' He had 
mourned her sincerely, but his face had looked younger since 
she died. If she could only have believed that she made 
him happy, how much happier would the twenty years of 
their companionship have been ! 


June had never really got on well with her who had 
reprehensibly taken her own mother's place; and ever since 
old Jolyon died she had been established in a sort of studio 
in London. But she had come back to Robin Hill on her 
stepmother's death, and gathered the reins there into her 
small decided hands. Jolly was then at Harrow; Holly 
still learning from Mademoiselle Beauce. There had been 
nothing to keep Jolyon at home, and he had removed his 
grief and his paintbox abroad. There he had wandered, 
for the most part in Brittany, and at last had fetched up in 
Paris. He had stayed there several months, and come back 
with the younger face and the short fair beard. Essentially 
a man who merely lodged in any house, it had suited him 
perfectly that June should reign at Robin Hill, so that he 
was free to go off with his easel where and when he liked. 
She was inclined, it is true, to regard the house rather as 
an asylum for her proteges ; but his own outcast days had 
filled Jolyon for ever with sympathy towards an outcast, 
and June's ' lame ducks ' about the place did not annoy him. 
By all means let her have them down and feed them up; 
and though his slightly cynical humour perceived that they 
ministered to his daughter's love of domination as well as 
moved her warm heart, he never ceased to admire her for 
having so many ducks. He fell, indeed, year by year into a 
more and more detached and brotherly attitude towards his 
own son and daughters, treating them with a sort of whimsical 
equality. When he went down to Harrow to see Jolly, he never 
quite knew which of them was the elder, and would sit eating 
cherries with him out of one paper bag, with an affectionate 
and ironical smile twisting up an eyebrow and curling his 
lips a little. And he was always careful to have money in 
his pocket, and to be modish in his dress, so that his son need 
not blush for him. They were perfect friends, but never 
seemed to have occasion for verbal confidences, both having 


the competitive self-consciousness of Forsytes. They knew 
they would stand by each other in scrapes, but there was no 
need to talk about it. Jolyon had a perfect horror — partly 
original sin, but partly the result of his early immorality — 
of the moral attitude. The most he could ever have said 
to his son would have been: 

' Look here, old man, don't forget you're a gentleman;' 
and then have wondered whimsically whether that was not 
a snobbish sentiment. The great cricket match was perhaps 
the most searching and awkward time they annually went 
through together, for Jolyon had been at Eton. They 
would be particularly careful during that match, continually 
saying: ' Hooray ! Oh ! hard luck,.- old man !' or 
' Hooray ! Oh ! bad luck, Dad !' to each other, when some 
disaster at which their hearts bounded happened to the 
opposing school. And Jolyon would wear a grey top hat, 
instead of his usual soft one, to save his son's feelings, for a 
black top hat he could not stomach. When Jolly went 
up to Oxford, Jolyon went up with him, amused, humble, 
and a little anxious not to discredit his boy amongst all 
these youths who seemed so much more assured and old than 
himself. He often thought, ' Glad I'm a painter ' — for 
he had long dropped under-writing at Lloyds — ' it's so 
innocuous. You can't look down on a painter — you can't 
take him seriously enough.' For Jolly, who had a sort of 
natural lordliness, had passed at once into a very small set, 
who secretly amused his father. The boy had fair hair 
which curled a little, and his grandfather's deep-set iron- 
grey eyes. He was well-built and very upright, and always 
pleased Jolyon's aesthetic sense, so that he was a tiny bit 
afraid of him, as artists ever are of those of their own sex 
whom they admire physically. On that occasion, however, 
he actually did screw up his courage to give his son advice, 
and this was it: 


"Look here, old man, you're bound to get into debt; 
mind you come to me at once. Of course, I'll always pay 
them. But you might remember that one respects oneself 
more afterwards if one pays one's own way. And don't 
ever borrow, except from me, will you ?" 

And Jolly had said: 

" All right. Dad, I won't," and he never had. 

" And there's just one other thing. I don't know much 
about morality and that, but there is this: It's always worth 
while before you do anything to consider whether it's going 
to hurt another person more than is absolutely necessary." 

Jolly had looked thoughtful, and nodded, and presently 
had squeezed his father's hand. And Jolyon had thought: 
' I wonder if I had the right to say that ?' He always had 
a sort of dread of losing the dumb confidence they had in 
each other; remembering how for long years he had lost 
his own father's, so that there had been nothing between 
them but love at a great distance. He under-estimated 
no doubt, the change in the spirit of the age since he himself 
went up to Cambridge in ^66; and perhaps he under-esti- 
mated, too, his boy's power of understanding that he was 
tolerant to the very bone. It was that tolerance of his, and 
possibly his scepticism, which ever made his relations to- 
wards June so queerly defensive. She was such a decided 
mortal; knew her own mind so terribly well; wanted things 
so inexorably until she got them — and then, indeed, often 
dropped them like a hot potato. Her mother had been 
like that, whence had come all those tears. Not that his 
incompatibility with his daughter was anything like what it 
had been with the first Mrs. Young Jolyon. One could 
be amused where a daughter was concerned; in a wife's 
case one could not be amused. To see June set her heart 
and jaw on a thing until she got it was all right, because 
it was never anything which interfered fundamentally with 


Jolyon's liberty — the one thing on which his jaw was also 
absolutely rigid, a considerable jaw, under that short 
grizzling beard. Nor was there ever any necessity for real 
heart-to-heart encounters. One could break away into 
irony — as indeed he often had to. But the real trouble with 
June was that she had never appealed to his aesthetic sense, 
though she might well have, with her red-gold hair and her 
viking-coloured eyes, and that touch of the Berserker in her 
spirit. It was very different with Holly, soft and quiet, shy 
and affectionate, with a playful imp in her somewhere. He 
watched this younger daughter of his through the duckling 
stage with extraordinary interest. Would she come out a 
swan ? With her sallow oval face and her grey wistful eyes 
and those long dark lashes, she might, or she might not. 
Only this last year had he been able to guess. Yes, she would 
be a swan — rather a dark one, always a shy one, but an 
authentic swan. She was eighteen now, and Mademoiselle 
Beauce w^as gone — the excellent lady had removed, after 
eleven years haunted by her continuous reminiscences of 
the ' well-brrred little Tayleurs, to another family whose 
bosom would now be agitated by her reminiscences of the 
' well-brrred little Forsytes.' She had taught Holly to 
speak French like herself. 

Portraiture was not Jolyon's forte, but he had already 
drawn his younger daughter three times, and was drawing her 
a fourth, on the afternoon of October 4th, 1899, when a card 
was brought to him which caused his eyebrows to go up : 


The Shelter, 


Connoisseurs* Club, 
St. James's. 


But here the Forsyte Saga must digress again. . . . 
To return from a long travel in Spain to a darkened 
house, to a little daughter bewildered with tears, to the 
sight of a loved father lying peaceful in his last sleep, had 
never been, was never likely to be, forgotten by so impres- 
sionable and warm-hearted a man as Jolyon. A sense as of 
mystery, too, clung to that sad day, and about the end of 
one whose life had been so well-ordered, balanced, and above- 
board. It seemed incredible that his father could thus 
have vanished without, as it were, announcing his intention, 
without last words to his son, and due farewells. And those 
incoherent allusions of little Holly to ' the lady in grey,' 
of Mademoiselle Beauce to a Madame Errant (as it sounded) 
involved all things in a mist, lifted a little when he read 
his father's will and the codicil thereto. It had been 
his duty as executor of that will and codicil to inform 
Irene, wife of his cousin Soames, of her life interest in 
fifteen thousand pounds. He had called on her to explain 
that the existing investment in India Stock, ear-marked to 
meet the charge, would produce for her the interesting 
net sum of ^^430 odd a year, clear of Income Tax. This was 
but the third time he had seen his cousin Soames' wife — if 
indeed she was still his wife, of which he was not quite sure. 
He remembered having seen her sitting in the Botanical 
Gardens waiting for Bosinney — a passive, fascinating figure, 
reminding him of Titian's * Heavenly Love,' and again, 
when, charged by his father, he had gone to Montpelier 
Square on the afternoon when Bosinney's death was known. 
He still recalled vividly her sudden appearance in the drawing- 
room doorway on that occasion — her beautiful face, passing 
from wild eagerness of hope to stony despair; remembered 
the compassion he had felt, Soames' snarling smile, his 
words, 'We are not at home,' and the slam of the front door. 
This third time he saw a face and form more beautiful — 


freed from that warp of wild hope and despair. Looking 
at her, he thought: 'Yes, you are just what the dad 
would have admired !' And the strange story of his 
father's Indian summer became slowly clear to him. She 
spoke of old Jolyon with reverence and tears in her eyes. 
" He was so wonderfully kind to me; I don't know why. 
He looked so beautiful and peaceful sitting in that chair 
under the tree; it was I who first came on him sitting there, 
you know. Such a lovely day. I don't think an end could 
have been happier. We should all like to go out like that." 

' Quite right !' he had thought. ' We should all like to 
go out in full summer with beauty stepping towards us 
across a lawn.' 

And looking round the little, almost empty drawing-room, 
he had asked her what she was going to do now. " I am 
going to live again a little, Cousin Jolyon. It's wonderful 
to have money of one's own. I've never had any. I shall 
keep this flat, I think; I'm used to it; but I shall be able to 
go to Italy." 

" Exactly !" Jolyon had murmured, looking at her faintly 
smiling lips; and he had gone away thinking: 'A fascinating 
woman ! What a waste ! I'm glad the dad left her that 
money.' He had not seen her again, but every quarter 
he had signed her cheque, forwarding it to her bank, with 
a note to the Chelsea flat to say that he had done so; and 
always he had received a note in acknowledgment, generally 
from the flat, but sometimes from Italy; so that her person- 
ality had beconie embodied in slightly scented grey paper, an 
upright fine handwriting, and the words, ' Dear Cousin 
Jolyon.' Man of property that he now was, the slender 
cheque he signed often gave rise to the thought: ' Well, I 
suppose she just manages '; sliding into a vague wonder how 
she was faring otherwise in a world of men not wont to let 
beauty go unpossessed. At first Holly had spoken of her 


sometimes, but ' ladies in grey ' soon fade from children's 
memories; and the tightening of June's lips in those first 
weeks after her grandfather's death whenever her former 
friend's name was mentioned, had discouraged allusion. 
Only once, indeed, had June spoken definitely: " I've 
forgiven her. I'm frightfully glad she's independent now.", .. 

On receiving Soames' card, Jolyon said to the maid — for 
he could not abide butlers — " Show him into the study, 
please, and say I'll be there in a minute"; and then he 
looked at Holly and asked: 

" Do you remember ' the lady in grey,' who used to give 
you music-lessons ?" 

" Oh yes, why ? Has she come ?" 

Jolyon shook his head, and, changing his holland blouse 
for a coat, was silent, perceiving suddenly that such history 
was not for those young ears. His face, in fact, became 
whimsical perplexity incarnate while he journeyed towards 
the study. 

Standing by the french-window, looking out across the 
terrace at the oak-tree, were two figures, middle-aged and 
young, and he thought: 'Who's that boy? Surely they 
never had a child.' 

The elder figure turned. The meeting of those two 
Forsytes of the second generation, so much more sophisti- 
cated than the first, in the house built for the one and owned 
and occupied by the other, was marked by subtle defen- 
siveness beneath distinct attempt at cordiality. ' Has he 
come about his wife?' Jolyon was thinking; and Soames, 
' How shall I begin ?' while Val, brought to break the ice, 
stood negligently scrutinising this ' bearded pard ' from 
under his dark, thick eyelashes. 

" This is Val Dartie," said Soames, " my sister's son. He's 
just going up to Oxford. I thought I'd like him to know 
your boy." 


" Ah ! I'm sorry Jolly's away. What college ?" 

" B.N.C," replied Val. 

'* Jolly's at the ' House,' but he'll be delighted to look you 

" Thanks awfully." 

" Holly's in — if you could put up with a female relation, 
she'd show you round. You'll find her in the hall if you go 
through the curtains, I was just painting her," 

With another " Thanks, awfully !" Val vanished, leaving 
the two cousins with the ice unbroken, 

" I see you've some drawings at the * Water Colours,' " 
said Soames. 

Jolyon winced. He had been out of touch with the 
Forsyte family at large for twenty-six years, but they were 
connected in his mind with Frith's ' Derby Day ' and 
Landseer prints. He had heard from June that Soames 
was a connoisseur, which made it worse. He had become 
aware, too, of a curious sensation of repugnance. 

" I haven't seen you for a long time," he said. 

" No," answered Soames between close Hps, " not since — 
as a matter of fact, it's about that I've come. You're her 
trustee, I'm told." 

Jolyon nodded. 

" Twelve years is a long time," said Soames rapidly: 
" I— I'm tired of it." 

Jolyon found no more appropriate answer than: 

" Won't you smoke?" 

" No, thanks." 

Jolyon himself lit a cigarette. 

" I wish to be free," said Soames abruptly. 

" I don't see her," murmured Jolyon through the fume 
of his cigarette. 

" But you know where she lives, I suppose ?" 

Jolyon nodded. He did not mean to give her address 


without permission. Soames seemed to divine his 

*' I don't want her address," he said; " I know it." 

" What exactly do you want ?" 

" She deserted me. I want a divorce." 

" Rather late in the day, isn't it ?" 

" Yes," said Soames. And there was a silence. 

" I don't know much about these things — at least, I've 
forgotten," said Jolyon with a wry smile. He himself had 
had to wait for death to grant him a divorce from the first 
Mrs. Jolyon. " Do you wish me to see her about it ?" 

Soames raised his eyes to his cousin's face. 

" I suppose there's someone," he said. 

A shrug moved Jolyon's shoulders. 

" I don't know at all. I imagine you may have both lived 
as if the other were dead. It's usual in these cases." 

Soames turned to the window. A few early fallen oak- 
leaves strewed the terrace already, and were rolling round in 
the wind. Jolyon saw the figures of Holly and Val Dartie 
moving across the lawn towards the stables. ' I'm not going 
to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds,' he thought. 
* I must act for her. The dad would have wished that.' 
And for a swift moment he seemed to see his father's figure 
in the old armchair, just beyond Soames, sitting with knees 
crossed, The Times in his hand. It vanished. 
" My father was fond of her," he said quietly. 
" Why he should have been I don't know," Soames 
answered without looking round. " She brought trouble 
to your daughter June; she brought trouble to everyone. 
I gave her all she wanted. I would have given her even — 
forgiveness — but she chose to leave me." 

In Jolyon compassion was checked by the tone of that 
close voice. What was there in the fellow that made it so 
difficult to be sorry for him ? 


" I can go and see her, if you like," he said. " I 
suppose she might be glad of a divorce, but I know 

Soames nodded. 

" Yes, please go. As I say, I know her address; but I've 
no wish to see her." His tongue was busy with his lips, as 
if they were very dry. 

" You'll have some tea ?" said Jolyon, stifling the words: 
* And see the house.' And he led the way into the hall. 
When he had rung the bell and ordered tea, he went to his 
easel to turn his drawing to the wall. He could not bear, 
somehow, that his work should be seen by Soames, who was 
standing there in the middle of the great room which had 
been designed expressly to afford wall space for his own 
pictures. In his cousin's face, with its unseizable family 
likeness to himself, and its chinny, narrow, concentrated 
look, Jolyon saw that which moved him to the thought: 
' That chap could never forget anything — nor ever give 
himself away. He's pathetic !' 



When young Val left the presence of the last generation 
he was thinking: * This is jolly dull ! Uncle Soames does 
take the bun, I wonder what this filly's like ?' He anti- 
cipated no pleasure from her society; and suddenly he saw 
her standing there looking at him. Why, she was pretty ! 
What luck ! 

" I'm afraid you don't know me," he said. " My name's 
Val Dartie — I'm once removed, second cousin, something 
like that, you know. My mother's name was Forsyte." 

Holly, whose slim brown hand remained in his because 
she was too shy to withdraw it, said : 

" I don't know any of my relations. Are there many ?" 

" Tons. They're awful — most of them. At least, I 
don't know — some of them. One's relations always are, 
aren't they?" 

" I expect they think one awful too," said Holly. 

" I don't know why they should. No one could think 
you awful, of course." 

Holly looked at him — the wistful candour in those grey eyes 
gave young Val a sudden feeling that he must protect her. 

" I mean there are people and people," he added astutely. 
" Your dad looks awfully decent, for instance." 

" Oh yes !" said Holly fervently; " he is." 

A flush mounted in Val's cheeks — that scene in the Pande- 
monium promenade — the dark man with the pink carnation 
developing into his own father ! " But you know what the 
Forsytes are," he said almost viciously. " Oh ! I forgot; 

you don't." 



"What are they?" 

"Oh! fearfully careful; not sportsmen a bit. Look at 
Uncle Soames !" 

" I'd like to," said Holly. 

Val resisted a desire to run his arm through hers. " Oh 
no," he said, " let's go out. You'll see him quite soon 
enough. What's your brother like ?" 

Holly led the way on to the terrace and down to the lawn 
without answering. How describe Jolly, who, ever since she 
remembered anything, had been her lord, master, and ideal ? 

" Does he sit on you ?" said Val shrewdly. " I shall be 
knowing him at Oxford. Have you got any horses ?" 

Holly nodded, " Would you like to see the stables ?" 

" Rather !" 

They passed under the oak-tree, through a thin 
shrubbery, into the stable-yard. There under a clock 
tower lay a fluffy brown-and-white dog, so old that he did 
not get up, but faintly waved the tail curled over his back. 

" That's Balthasar," said Holly; " he's so old— awfully old, 
nearly as old as I am. Poor old boy ! He's devoted to dad." 

" Balthasar ! That's a rum name. He isn't pure-bred, 
you know." 

" No ! but he's a darling," and she bent down to stroke 
the dog. Gentle and supple, with dark uncovered head and 
slim browned neck and hands, she seemed to Val strange 
and sweet, like a thing slipped between him and all previous 

" When grandfather died," she said, " he wouldn't eat 
for two days. He saw him die, you know." 

" Was that old Uncle Jolyon ? Mother always says he 
was a topper." 

" He was," said Holly simply, and opened the stable door. 
In a loose-box stood a silver roan of about fifteen hands, 
with a long black tail and mane. " This is mine — Fairy 


" Ah ! " said Val, " she's a jolly palfrey. But you ought 
to bang her tail. She'd look much smarter." Then catch- 
ing her wondering look, he thought suddenly: ' I don't 
know — anything she likes !' And he took a long snif! of 
the stable air. " Horses are ripping, aren't they ? My 
dad " he stopped. 

" Yes ?" said Holly. 

An impulse to unbosom himself almost overcame him — 
but not quite, " Oh ! I don't know — he's often gone a mucker 
over them. I'm jolly keen on them too — riding and hunting. 
I like racing awfully, as well; I should like to be a gentleman 
rider." And oblivious of the fact that he had but one more 
day in town, with two engagements, he plumped out: 

" I say, if I hire a gee to-morrow, will you come a ride in 
Richmond Park ?" 

Holly clasped her hands. 

" Oh yes ! I simply love riding. But there's Jolly's horse; 
why don't you ride him ? Here he is. We could go after tea." 

Val looked doubtfully at his trousered legs. He had 
imagined them immaculate before her eyes in high brown 
boots and Bedford cords. 

" I don't much like riding his horse," he said, " He 
mightn't like it. Besides, Uncle Soames wants to get back, 
I expect. Not that I believe in buckling under to him, 
you know. You haven't got an uncle, have you ? This 
is rather a good beast," he added, scrutinising Jolly's horse, 
a dark brown, which was showing the whites of its eyes. 
" You haven't got any hunting here, I suppose ?" 

" No; I don't know that I want to hunt. It must be 
awfully exciting, of course ; but it's cruel, isn't it ? June 
says so." 

" Cruel ?" ejaculated Val. " Oh ! that's all rot. Who's 

" My sister — my half-sister, you know — much older than 


me." She had put her hands up to both cheeks of Jolly's 
horse, and was rubbing her nose against its nose with a 
gentle snuffling noise which seemed to have an hypnotic 
effect on the animal. Val contemplated her cheek resting 
against the horse's nose, and her eyes gleaming round at 
him. ' She's really a duck,' he thought. 

They returned to the house less talkative, followed this 
time by the dog Balthasar, walking more slowly than any- 
thing on earth, and clearly expecting them not to exceed 
his speed limit. 

" This is a ripping place," said Val from under the oak- 
tree, where they had paused to allow the dog Balthasar to 
come up. 

" Yes," said Holly, and sighed. " Of course I want to 
go everywhere. I wish I were a gipsy." 

" Yes, gipsies are jolly," replied Val, with a conviction 
which had just come to him; "you're rather like one, you 

Holly's face shone suddenly and deeply, like dark leaves 
gilded by the sun. 

" To go mad-rabbiting everywhere and see everything, 
and live in the open — oh ! wouldn't it be fun ?" 

" Let's do it," said Val. 

" Oh yes, let's !" 

" It'd be grand sport, just you and L" 

Then Holly perceived the quaintness and flushed. 

" Well, we've got to do it," said Val obstinately, but 
reddening too. " I believe in doing things you want to 
do. What's down there ?" 

" The kitchen-garden, and the pond and the coppice, 
and the farm." 

" Let's go down !" 

Holly glanced back at the house. 

" It's tea-time, I expect; there's dad beckoning." 



Val, uttering a growly sound, followed her towards the 

When they re-entered the hall gallery the sight of two 
middle-aged Forsytes drinking tea together had its magical 
effect, and they became quite silent. It was, indeed, an 
impressive spectacle. The two were seated side by side 
on an arrangement in marqueterie which looked like three 
silvery pink chairs made one, with a low tea-table in front 
of them. They seemed to have taken up that position, 
as far apart as the seat would permit, so that they need not 
look at each other too much; and they were eating and 
drinking rather than talking — Soames with his air of despis- 
ing the tea-cake as it disappeared, Jolyon of finding himself 
slightly amusing. To the casual eye neither would have 
seemed greedy, but both were getting through a good deal 
of sustenance. The two young ones having been supplied 
with food, the process went on silent and absorbative, till, 
with the advent of cigarettes, Jolyon said to Soames: 

" And how's Uncle James ?" 

" Thanks, very shaky." 

" We're a wonderful family, aren't we ? The other 
day I was calculating the average age of the ten old Forsytes 
from my father's family Bible. I make it eighty-four 
already, and five still living. They ought to beat the 
record;" and looking whimsically at Soames, he added: 
" We aren't the men they were, you know." 

Soames smiled. ' Do you really think I shall admit that 
I'm not their equal '; he seemed to be saying, ' or that I've 
got to give up anything, especially life ?' 

" We may live to their age, perhaps," pursued Jolyon, 
*' but self-consciousness is a handicap, you know, and that's 
the difference between us. We've lost conviction. How 
and when self-consciousness was born I never can make 
out. My father had a little, but I don't believe any other 
of the old Forsytes ever had a scrap. Never to see yourself 


as others see you, it's a wonderful preservative. The whole 
history of the last century is in the difference between us. 
And between us and you," he added, gazing through a 
ring of smoke at Val and Holly, uncomfortable under his 
quizzical regard, " there'll be — another difference. I wonder 

Soames took out his watch. 

" We must go," he said, " if we're to catch our train." 

" Uncle Soames never misses a train," muttered Val, with 
his mouth full. 

" Why should I ?" Soames answered simply. 

" Oh ! I don't know," grumbled Val, " other people do." 

At the front door he gave Holly's slim brown hand a long 
and surreptitious squeeze. 

" Look out for me to-morrow," he whispered; " three 
o'clock. I'll wait for you in the road; it'll save time. We'll 
have a ripping ride." He gazed back at her from the lodge 
gate, and, but for the principles of a man about town, would 
have waved his hand. He felt in no mood to tolerate his 
uncle's conversation. But he was not in danger. Soames 
preserved a perfect muteness, busy with far-away thoughts. 

The yellow leaves came down about those two walking 
the mile and a half which Soames had traversed so often 
in those long-ago days when he came down to watch with 
secret pride the building of the house — that house which 
was to have been the home of him and her from whom he 
was now going to seek release. He looked back once, up 
that endless vista of autumn lane between the yellowing 
hedges. What an age ago ! ' I don't want to see her,' 
he had said to Jolyon. Was that true ? ' I may have to,' 
he thought; and he shivered, seized by one of those queer 
shudderings that they say mean footsteps on one's grave. A 
chilly world ! A queer world ! And glancing sidelong at 
his nephew, he thought: ' Wish I were his age ! I wonder 
what she's like now !' 



When those two were gone Jolyon did not return to his 
painting, for daylight was faihng, but went to the study, 
craving unconsciously a revival of that momentary vision 
of his father sitting in the old brown leather chair with his 
knees crossed and his straight eyes gazing up from under the 
dome of his massive brow. Often in this little room, 
cosiest in the house, Jolyon would catch a moment of com- 
munion with his father. Not, indeed, that he had definitely 
any faith in the persistence of the human spirit — the feeling 
was not so logical — it was, rather, an atmospheric impact, 
like a scent, or one of those strong animistic impressions from 
forms, or effects of light, to which those with the artist's 
eye are especially prone. Here only — in this little unchanged 
room where his father had spent the most of his waking 
hours — could be retrieved the feeling that he was not quite 
gone, that the steady counsel of that old spirit and the 
warmth of his masterful lovabiHty endured. 

What would his father be advising now, in this sudden 
recrudescence of an old tragedy — what would he say to this 
menace against her to whom he had taken such a fancy in 
the last weeks of his life ? ' I must do my best for her,' 
thought Jolyon; ' he left her to me in his will. But what 
is the best ?' 

And as if seeking to regain the sapience, the balance and 
shrewd common sense of that old Forsyte, he sat down in 
the ancient chair and crossed his knees. But he felt a mere 
shadow sitting there; nor did any inspiration come, while 



the fingers of the wind tapped on the darkening panes of the 

' Go and see her V he thought, ' or ask her to come down 
here ? What's her life been ? What is it now, I wonder ? 
Beastly to rake up things at this time of day.' Again the 
figure of his cousin standing with a hand on a front door 
of a fine olive-green leaped out, vivid, like one of those 
figures from old-fashioned clocks when the hour strikes; 
and his words sounded in Jolyon's ears clearer than any 
chime: ' I manage my own affairs, I've told you once, I 
tell you again: We are not at home.' The repugnance he 
had then felt for Soames — for his flat-cheeked, shaven face 
full of spiritual buU-doggedness, for his spare, square, sleek 
figure slightly crouched as it were over the bone he could 
not digest — came now again, fresh as ever, nay, with an odd 
increase. ' I dislike him,' he thought, ' I dislike him to the 
very roots of me. And that's lucky; it'll make it easier 
for me to back his wife.' Half-artist and half- Forsyte, 
Jolyon was constitutionally averse from what he termed 
'ructions'; unless angered, he conformed deeply to that 
classic description of the she-dog, ' Er'd ruther run than 
fight.' A little smile became settled in his beard. Ironical 
that Soames should come down here — to this house, built 
for himself ! How he had gazed and gaped at this ruin 
of his past intention; furtively nosing at the walls and 
stairway, appraising everything ! And intuitively Jolyon 
thought: ' I believe the fellow even now would like to be 
living here. He could never leave off longing for what he 
once owned ! Well, I must act, somehow or other; but it's 
a bore — a great bore.' 

Late that evening he wrote to the Chelsea flat, asking if 
Irene would see him. 

The old century which had seen the plant of individualism 
flower so wonderfully was setting in a sky orange with coming 


storms. Rumours of war added to the briskness of a London 
turbulent at the close of the summer holidays. And the 
streets to Jolyon, who was not often up in town, had a 
feverish look, due to these new motor-cars and cabs, of which 
he disapproved aesthetically. He counted these vehicles 
from his hansom, and made the proportion of them one in 
twenty. ' They were one in thirty about a year ago,' 
he thought; 'they've come to stay. Just so much more 
rattling round of wheels and general stink ' — for he was 
one of those rather rare Liberals who object to anything 
new when it takes a material form; and he instructed his 
driver to get down to the river quickly, out of the traffic, 
desiring to look at the water through the mellowing screen 
of plane-trees. At the little block of flats which stood back 
some fifty yards from the Embankment, he told the cabman 
to wait, and went up to the first floor. 

Yes, Mrs. Heron was at home ! 

The effect of a settled if very modest income was at once 
apparent to him remembering the threadbare refinement in 
that tiny flat eight years ago when he announced her good 
fortune. Everything was now fresh, dainty, and smelled 
of flowers. The general effect was silvery with touches 
of black, hydrangea colour, and gold. ' A woman of great 
taste,' he thought. Time had dealt gently with Jolyon, 
for he was a Forsyte. But with Irene Time hardly seemed 
to deal at all — or such was his impression. She appeared 
to him not a day older, standing there in mole-coloured 
velvet corduroy, with soft dark eyes and dark gold hair, 
with outstretched hand and a little smile. 

" Won't you sit down ?" 

He had probably never occupied a chair with a fuller 
sense of embarrassment. 

" You look absolutely unchanged," he said. 

" And you look younger. Cousin Jolyon." 


Jolyon ran his hands through his hair, whose thickness 
was still a comfort to him, 

'* I'm ancient, but I don't feel it. That's one thing about 
painting, it keeps you young. Titian lived to ninety -nine, 
and had to have plague to kill him off. Do you know, the 
first time I ever saw you I thought of a picture by him ? " 

" When did you see me for the first time f " 

" In the Botanical Gardens." 

" How did you know me, if you'd never seen me before ?" 

" By someone who came up to you." He was looking 
at her hardily, but her face did not change; and she said 

" Yes; many lives ago." 

" What is your recipe for youth, Irene ?" 

" People who don't live are wonderfully preserved." 

What a bitter little saying ! People who don't live ! 
It was an opening, and he took it. " You remember my 
Cousin Soames f" 

He saw her smile faintly at that whimsicality, and at once 
went on: " He came to see me the day before yesterday ! 
He wants a divorce. Do you ?" 

" I ?" The word seemed startled out of her. " After 
twelve years ? It's rather late. Won't it be difficult ?" 

Jolyon looked hard into her face. " Unless " he said. 

" Unless I have a lover now. But I have never had one 


What did he feel at the simplicity and candour of those 
words ? Relief, surprise, pity ! Venus for twelve years 
without a lover ! 

" And yet," he said, " I suppose you would give a good 
deal to be free, too ?" 

" I don't know. What does it matter, now ?" 

" But if you were to love again ?" 

" I should love." In that simple answer she seemed to 


sum up the whole philosophy of one on whom the world 
had turned its back. 

" Well ! Is there anything you would like me to say to 
him ?" 

" Only that I'm sorry he's not free. He had his chance 
once. I don't know why he didn't take it." 

" Because he was a Forsyte; we never part with things, 
you know, unless we want something in their place; and not 
always then." 

Irene smiled. " Don't you, Cousin Jolyon ? — I think 
you do." 

" Of course, I'm a bit of a mongrel — not quite a pure 
Forsyte. I never take the halfpennies off my cheques, I 
put them on," said Jolyon uneasily. 

" Well, what does Soames want in place of me now ?" 

" I don't know; perhaps children." 

She was silent for a little, looking down. 

"Yes," she murmured; "it's hard. I would help him 
to be free if I could." 

Jolyon gazed into his hat, his embarrassment was in- 
creasing fast; so was his admiration, his wonder, and his pity. 
She was so lovely, and so lonely; and altogether it was such 
a coil ! 

" Well," he said, " I shall have to see Soames. If there's 
anything I can do for you I'm always at your service. You 
must think of me as a wretched substitute for my father. 
At all events I'll let you know what happens when I speak 
to Soames. He may supply the material himself." 

She shook her head. 

" You see, he has a lot to lose; and I have nothing. I 
should like him to be free; but I don't see what I can do." 

" Nor I at the moment," said Jolyon, and soon after took 
his leave. He went down to his hansom. Half-past three ! 
Soames would be at his office still. 


" To the Poultry," he called through the trap. In front 
of the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall, newsvendors 
were calling, * Grave situation in the Transvaal !' but the 
cries hardly roused him, absorbed in recollection of that 
very beautiful figure, of her soft dark glance, and the words: 
' I have never had one since.' What on earth did such a 
woman do with her life, backwatered like this ? Solitary, 
unprotected, with every man's hand against her or rather — 
reaching out to grasp her at the least sign. And year after 
year she went on like that ! 

The word ' Poultry ' above the passing citizens brought 
him back to reality. 

' Forsyte, Bustard and Forsyte,' in black letters on a 
ground the colour of peasoup, spurred him to a sort of 
vigour, and he went up the stone stairs muttering: " Fusty 
musty ownerships ! Well, we couldn't do without them !" 
" I want Mr. Soames Forsyte," he said to the boy who 
opened the door. 
" What name f" 
'* Mr. Jolyon Forsyte." 

The youth looked at him curiously, never having seen a 
Forsyte with a beard, and vanished. 

The offices of ' Forsyte, Bustard and Forsyte ' had slowly 
absorbed the offices of ' Tooting and Bowles,' and occupied 
the whole of the first floor. The firm consisted now of 
nothing but Soames and a number of managing and articled 
clerks. The complete retirement of James some six years 
ago had accelerated business, to which the final touch of 
speed had been imparted when Bustard dropped off, worn 
out, as many believed, by the suit of * Fryer versus Forsyte,' 
more in Chancery than ever and less likely to benefit its 
beneficiaries. Soames, with his saner grasp of actualities, 
had never permitted it to worry him; on the contrary, he 
had long perceived that Providence had presented him 


therein with ^^200 a year nett in perpetuity, and — why not ? 

When Jolyon entered, his cousin was drawing out a list 
of holdings in Consols, which in view of the rumours of war 
he was going to advise his companies to put on the market 
at once, before other companies did the same. He looked 
round, sidelong, and said: 

" How are you ? Just one minute. Sit down, won't 
you ?" And having entered three amounts, and set a ruler 
to keep his place, he turned towards Jolyon, biting the side 
of his flat fore-finger. 

" Yes ?» he said. 

" I have seen her." 

Soames frowned. 

" Well f » 

" She has remained faithful to memory." 

Having said that Jolyon was ashamed. His cousin had 
flushed a dusky yellowish red. What had made him tease 
the poor brute ! " I was to tell you she is sorry you are not 
free. Twelve years is a long time. You know your law 
better than I do, and what chance it gives you." Soames 
uttered a curious little grunt, and the two remained a full 
minute without speaking. ' Like wax !' thought Jolyon, 
watching that close face, where the flush was fast subsiding. 
' He'll never give me a sign of what he's thinking, or going 
to do. Like wax !' And he transferred his gaze to a plan 
of that flourishing town, ' By- Street on Sea,' the future 
existence of which lay exposed on the wall to the possessive 
instincts of the firm's clients. The whimsical thought flashed 
through him : ' I wonder if I shall get a bill of costs for this — 
" To attending Mr. Jolyon Forsyte in the matter of my 
divorce, to receiving his account of his visit to my wife, 
and to advising him to go and see her again, sixteen and 
eightpence." ' 

Suddenly Soames said: " I can't go on like this. I tell 


you, I can't go on like this." His eyes were shifting from 
side to side, like an animal's when it looks for way of escape. 
'He really suffers,' thought Jolyon; 'I've no business to 
forget that, just because I don't like him.' 

" Surely," he said gently, " it lies with yourself. A man 
can always put these things through if he'll take it on him- 

Soames turned square to him, with a sound which seemed 
to come from somewhere very deep. 

" Why should I suffer more than I've suffered already ? 
Why should I ?" 

Jolyon could only shrug his shoulders. His reason agreed, 
his instinct rebelled; he could not have said why, 

" Your father," went on Soames, " took an interest in 
her — why, goodness knows ! And I suppose you do too ?" 
he gave Jolyon a sharp look. " It seems to me that one only 
has to do another person a wrong to get all the sympathy. 
I don't know in what way I was to blame — I've never known. 
I always treated her well. I gave her everything she could 
wish for. I wanted her." 

Again Jolyon's reason nodded; again his instinct shook its 
head. ' What is it ?' he thought; ' there must be something 
wrong in me. Yet if there is, I'd rather be wrong than 

" After all," said Soames with a sort of glum fierceness, 
" she was my wife." 

In a flash the thought went through his listener: ' There 
it is ! Ownerships ! Well, we all own things. But — 
human beings ! Pah !' 

" You have to look at facts," he said drily, " or rather the 
want of them." 

Soames gave him another quick suspicious look. 

" The want of them ?" he said. " Yes, but I am not so 


" I beg your pardon," replied Jolyon; " I've told you 
what she said. It was explicit." 

" My experience has not been one to promote blind con- 
fidence in her word. We shall see." 

Jolyon got up. 

" Good-bye," he said curtly, 

"Good-bye," returned Soames; and Jolyon went out 
trying to understand the look, half-startled, half-menacing, 
on his cousin's face. He sought Waterloo Station in a 
disturbed frame of mind, as though the skin of his moral 
being had been scraped; and all the way down in the train 
he thought of Irene in her lonely flat, and of Soames in his 
lonely office, and of the strange paralysis of life that lay on 
them both. ' In chancery !' he thought. ' Both their 
necks in chancery — and hers so pretty !' 



The keeping of engagements had not as yet been a con- 
spicuous feature in the life of young Val Dartie, so that when 
he broke two and kept one, it was the latter event which 
caused him, if anything, the greater surprise, while jogging 
back to town from Robin Hill after his ride with Holly. 
She had been even prettier than he had thought her yester- 
day, on her silver-roan, long- tailed ' palfrey *; and it seemed 
to him, self-critical in the brumous October gloaming and 
the outskirts of London, that only his boots had shone 
throughout their two-hour companionship. He took out 
his new gold ' hunter ' — present from James — and looked 
not at the time, but at sections of his face in the glittering 
back of its opened case. He had a temporary spot over one 
eyebrow, and it displeased him, for it must have displeased 
her. Crum never had any spots. Together with Crum 
rose the scene in the promenade of the Pandemonium. 
To-day he had not had the faintest desire to unbosom himself 
to Holly about his father. His father lacked poetry, the 
stirrings of which he was feeling for the first time in his 
nineteen years. The Liberty, with Cynthia Dark, that 
almost mythical embodiment of rapture; the Pandemonium, 
with the woman of uncertain age — both seemed to Val 
completely ' off,' fresh from communion with this new 
shy, dark-haired young cousin of his. She rode ' jolly well,' 
too, so that it had been all the more flattering that she had 
let him lead her where he would in the long gallops of 
Richmond Park, though she knew them so much better than 
he did. Looking back on it all, he was mystified by the 



barrenness of his speech; he felt that he could say ' an awful 
lot of fetching things ' if he had but the chance again, and 
the thought that he must go back to Littlehampton on the 
morrow, and to Oxford on the twelfth — ' to that beastly 
exam,' too — without the faintest chance of first seeing her 
again, caused darkness to settle on his spirit even more 
quickly than on the evening. He should write to her, 
however, and she had promised to answer. Perhaps, too, 
she would come up to Oxford to see her brother. That 
thought was like the first star, which came out as he rode 
into Padwick's livery stables in the purlieus of Sloane Square. 
He got off and stretched himself luxuriously, for he had 
ridden some twenty-five good miles. The Dartie within 
him made him chaffer for five minutes with young Padwick 
concerning the favourite for the Cambridgeshire; then with 
the words, " Put the gee down to my account," he walked 
away, a little wide at the knees, and flipping his boots with 
his knotty little cane. ' I don't feel a bit inclined to go out,' 
he thought. ' I wonder if mother will stand fizz for my last 
night !' With ' fizz ' and recollection, he could well pass 
a domestic evening. 

When he came down, speckless after his bath, he found his 
mother scrupulous in a low evening dress, and, to his annoy- 
ance, his Uncle Soames. They stopped talking when he 
came in; then his uncle said: 

" He'd better be told." 

At those words, which meant something about his father, 
of course, Val's first thought was of Holly. Was it anything 
beastly ? His mother began speaking. 

" Your father," she said in her fashionably appointed 
voice, while her fingers plucked rather pitifully at sea-green 
brocade, " your father, my dear boy, has — is not at New- 
market; he's on his way to South America. He — he's 
left us." 


Val looked from her to Soames. Left them ! Was he 
sorry ? Was he fond of his father ? It seemed to him that 
he did not know. Then, suddenly — as at a whiff of gardenias 
and cigars — his heart twitched within him, and he was 
sorry. One's father belonged to one, could not go off in 
this fashion — it was not done ! Nor had he always been the 
' bounder ' of the Pandemonium promenade. There were 
precious memories of tailors' shops and horses, tips at school, 
and general lavish kindness, when in luck. 

"But why?" he said. Then, as a sportsman himself, 
was sorry he had asked. The mask of his mother's face was 
all disturbed; and he burst out: 

" All right, Mother, don't tell me ! Only, what does it 
mean ?" 

" A divorce, Val, I'm afraid." 

Val uttered a queer little grunt, and looked quickly at 
his uncle — that uncle whom he had been taught to look on 
as a guarantee against the consequences of having a father, 
even against the Dartie blood in his own veins. The flat- 
cheeked visage seemed to wince, and this upset him. 

" It won't be public, will it ?" 

So vividly before him had come recollection of his own 
eyes glued to the unsavoury details of many a divorce suit 
in the public Press. 

" Can't it be done quietly somehow ? It's so disgusting 
for — for mother, and — and everybody." 

" Everything will be done as quietly as it can, you may be 


" Yes — but, why is it necessary at all ? Mother doesn't 
want to marry again." 

Himself, the girls, their name tarnished in the sight of his 
schoolfellows and of Crum, of the men at Oxford, of — 
Holly ! Unbearable ! What was to be gained by it ? 

" Do you, Mother ?" he said sharply. 


Thus brought face to face with so much of her own feeling 
by the one she loved best in the world, Winifred rose from 
the Empire chair in which she had been sitting. She saw 
that her son would be against her unless he was told every- 
thing; and, yet, how could she tell him ? Thus, still plucking 
at the green brocade, she stared at Soames. Val, too, stared 
at Soames. Surely this embodiment of respectability and 
the sense of property could not wish to bring such a slur 
on his own sister ! 

Soames slowly passed a little inlaid paper-knife over the 
smooth surface of a marqueterie table; then, without 
looking at his nephew, he began : 

" You don't understand what your mother has had to put 
up with these twenty years. This is only the last straw, 
Val." And glancing up sideways at Winifred, he added: 

" Shall I tell him ?" 

Winifred was silent. If he were not told, he would be 
against her ! Yet, how dreadful to be told such things of 
his own father ! Clenching her lips, she nodded. 

Soames spoke in a rapid, even voice: 

" He has always been a burden round your mother's 
neck. She has paid his debts over and over again; he has 
often been drunk, abused and threatened her; and now he 
is gone to Buenos Aires with a dancer." And, as if distrust- 
ing the efficacy of those words on the boy, he went on quickly : 

" He took your mother's pearls to give to her," 

Val jerked up his hand, then. At that signal of distress 
Winifred cried out: 

" That'll do, Soames— stop !" 

In the boy, the Dartie and the Forsyte were struggling. 
For debts, drink, dancers, he had a certain sympathy; but 
the pearls — no ! That was too much ! And suddenly he 
found his mother's hand squeezing his. 

" You see," he heard Soames say, " we can't have it all 


begin over again. There's a limit; we must strike while 
the iron's hot," 

Val freed his hand. 

" But — you're — never going to bring out that about the 
pearls ! I couldn't stand that — I simply couldn't !" 

Winifred cried out: 

" No, no, Val — oh no ! That's only to show you how 
impossible your father is !" And his uncle nodded. Some- 
what assuaged, Val took out a cigarette. His father had 
bought him that thin curved case. Oh ! it was unbearable — 
just as he was going up to Oxford ! 

" Can't mother be protected without ?" he said. " I 
could look after her. It could always be done later if it 
was really necessary." 

A smile played for a moment round Soames' lips, and 
became bitter. 

" You don't know what you're talking of; nothing's so 
fatal as delay in such matters." 


" I tell you, boy, nothing's so fatal. I know from 

His voice had the ring of exasperation. Val regarded him 
round-eyed, never having known his uncle express any sort 
of feeling. Oh ! Yes — he remembered now — there had 
been an Aunt Irene, and something had happened — some- 
thing which people kept dark; he had heard his father once 
use an unmentionable word of her. 

" I don't want to speak ill of your father," Soames went 
on doggedly, " but I know him well enough to be sure that 
he'll be back on your mother's hands before a year's over. 
You can imagine what that will mean to her and to all of 
you after this. The only thing is to cut the knot for good." 

In spite of himself, Val was impressed; and, happening to 
look at his mother's face, he got what was perhaps his first 



real insight into the fact that his own feelings were not 
always what mattered most. 

" All right, mother," he said; " we'll back you up. Only, 
I'd like to know when it'll be. It's my first term, you know. 
I don't want to be up there when it comes off," 

" Oh ! my dear boy," murmured Winifred, " it is a bore 
for you." So, by habit, she phrased what, from the ex- 
pression of her face, was the most poignant regret. " When 
will it be, Soamcs ?" 

" Can't tell — not for months. We must get restitution 

' What the deuce is that ?' thought Val. ' What silly 
brutes lawyers are ! Not for months ! I know one thing: 
I'm not going to dine in !' And he said: 

" Awfully sorry, mother, I've got to go out to dinner 

Though it was his last night, Winifred nodded almost 
gratefully; they both felt that they had gone quite far enough 
in the expression of feeling. 

Val sought the misty freedom of Green Street, reckless 

and depressed. And not till he reached Piccadilly did he 

discover that he had only eighteen-pence. One couldn't 

dine off eighteen-pence, and he was very hungry. He looked 

longingly at the windows of the Iseeum Club, where he had 

often eaten of the best with his father ! Those pearls ! 

There was no getting over them ! But the more he brooded 

and the further he walked the hungrier he naturally became. 

Short of trailing home, there were only two places where 

he could go — his grandfather's in Park Lane, and Timothy's 

in the Bayswater Road. Which was the less deplorable ? 

At his grandfather's he would probably get a better dinner 

on the spur of the moment. At Timothy's they gave you 

a jolly good feed when they expected you, not otherwise. 

He decided on Park Lane, not unmoved by the thought that 


to go up to Oxford without affording his grandfather a 
chance to tip him was hardly fair to either of them. His 
mother would hear he had been there, of course, and might 
think it funny; but he couldn't help that. He rang the 

" Hullo, Warmson, any dinner for me, d'you think ?" 

" They're just going in, Master Val. Mr. Forsyte will 
be very glad to see you. He was saying at lunch that he 
never saw you nowadays." 

Val grinned: 

" Well, here I am. Kill the fatted calf, Warmson, let's 
have fizz." 

Warmson smiled faintly — in his opinion Val was a young 

" I will ask Mrs. Forsyte, Master Val." 

" I say," Val grumbled, taking off his overcoat, " I'm 
not at school any more, you know." 

Warmson, not without a sense of humour, opened the 
door beyond the stag's-horn coatstand, with the words: 

" Mr. Valerus, ma'am." 

' Confound him !' thought Val, entering. 

A warm embrace, a " Well, Val !" from Emily, and a 
rather quavery " So there you are at last !" from James, 
restored his sense of dignity. 

" Why didn't you let us know ? There's only saddle 
of mutton. Champagne, Warmson;" said Emily. And 
they went in. 

At the great dining- table, shortened to its utmost, under 
which so many fashionable legs had rested, James sat at one 
end, Emily at the other, Val half-way between them; and 
something of the loneliness of his grandparents, now that 
all their four children were flown, reached the boy's spirit. 
' I hope I shall kick the bucket long before I'm as old as 
grandfathei,' he thought. ' Poor old chap, he's as thin as 


a rail !' And lowering his voice while his grandfather and 
Warmson were in discussion about sugar in the soup, he 
said to Emily: 

" It's pretty brutal at home, Granny. I suppose you 

" Yes, dear boy." 

" Uncle Soames was there when I left. I say, isn't 
there anything to be done to prevent a divorce ? Why is 
he so beastly keen on it ?" 

" Hush, my dear !" murmured Emily; " we're keeping it 
from your grandfather." 

James' voice sounded from the other end. 

" What's that ? What are you talking about ?" 

*' About Val's college," returned Emily. " Young 
Pariser was there, James; you remember — he nearly broke 
the Bank at Monte Carlo afterwards." 

James muttered that he did not know — Val must look after 
himself up there, or he'd get into bad ways. And he looked 
at his grandson with gloom, out of which affection distrust- 
fully glimmered. 

" What I'm afraid of," said Val to his plate, " is of being 
hard up, you know." 

By instinct he knew that the weak spot in that old man 
was fear of insecurity for his grandchildren. 

" Well," said James, and the soup in his spoon dribbled 
over, " you'll have a good allowance; but you must keep 
within it." 

" Of course," murmured Val; " if it is good. How much 
will it be. Grandfather ?" 

" Three hundred and fifty; it's too much. I had next 
to nothing at your age." 

Val sighed. He had hoped for four, and been afraid of 
three. " I don't know what your young cousin has," said 
James; " he's up there. His father's a rich man." 

" Aren't you ?" asked Val hardily. 


"I ?" replied James, flustered. "I've got so many expenses. 
Your father " and he was silent. 

" Cousin Jolyon's got an awfully jolly place. I went down 
there with Uncle Soames — ripping stables." 

" Ah !" murmured James profoundly. " That house — I 
knew how it would be !" And he lapsed into gloomy medita- 
tion over his fishbones. His son's tragedy, and the deep 
cleavage it had caused in the Forsyte family, had still the 
power to draw him down into a whirlpool of doubts and 
misgivings. Val, who hankered to talk of Robin Hill, because 
Robin Hill meant Holly, turned to Emily and said: 

" Was that the house built for Uncle Soames ?" And, 
receiving her nod, went on : "I wish you'd tell me about him, 
Granny. What became of Aunt Irene ? Is she still going ? 
He seems awfully worked-up about something to-night." 

Emily laid her finger on her lips, but the word Irene had 
caught James' ear. 

" What's that ?" he said, staying a piece of mutton close 
to his lips. " Who's been seeing her ? I knew we hadn't 
heard the last of that." 

" Now, James," said Emily, " eat your dinner. Nobody's 
been seeing anybody." 

James put down his fork. 

" There you go," he said. " I might die before you'd 
tell me of it. Is Soames getting a divorce ?" 

"Nonsense," said Emily with incomparable aplomb; 
" Soames is much too sensible." 

James had sought his own throat, gathering the long white 
whiskers together on the skin and bone of it. 

" She — she was always " he said, and with that 

enigmatic remark the conversation lapsed, for Warmson had 
returned. But later, when the saddle of mutton had been 
succeeded bysweet, savoury, and dessert, and Val had received 
a cheque for twenty pounds and his grandfather's kiss — like 
no other kiss in the world, from lips pushed out with a sort 


of fearful suddenness, as if yielding to weakness — he returned 
to the charge in the hall. 

" Tell us about Uncle Soames, Granny. Why is he 
so keen on mother's getting a divorce ?" 

" Your Uncle Soames," said Emily, and her voice had in 
it an exaggerated assurance, " is a lawyer, my dear boy. 
He's sure to know best." 

" Is he ?" muttered Val. " But what did become of Aunt 
Irene ? I remember she was jolly good-looking." 

" She — er — " said Emily, " behaved very badly. We 
don't talk about it." 

" Well, I don't want everybody at Oxford to know about 
our affairs," ejaculated Val; " it's a brutal idea. Why 
couldn't father be prevented without its being made public ?" 

Emily sighed. She had always lived rather in an atmo- 
sphere of divorce, owing to her fashionable proclivities — so 
many of those whose legs had been under her table having 
gained a certain notoriety. When, however, it touched her 
own family, she liked it no better than other people. But 
she was eminently practical, and a woman of courage, who 
never pursued a shadow in preference to its substance. 

" Your mother," she said, " will be happier if she's quite 
free, Val. Good-night, my dear boy; and don't wear 
loud waistcoats up at Oxford, they're not the thing just 
now. Here's a little present." 

With another five pounds in his hand, and a little warmth 
in his heart, for he was fond of his grandmother, he vvent out 
into Park Lane. A wind had cleared the mist, the autumn 
leaves were rustling, and the stars were shining. With all 
that money in his pocket an impulse to ' see life ' beset him; 
but he had not gone forty yards in the direction of Piccadilly 
when Holly's shy face, and her eyes with an imp dancing 
in their gravity, came up before him, and his hand seemed 
to be tingling again from the pressure of her warm gloved 
hand. ' No, dash it !' he thought, ' I'm going home !' 



It was full late for the river, but the weather was lovely, 

and summer lingered below the yellowing leaves. Soames 

took many looks at the day from his riverside garden near 

Mapledurham that Sunday morning. With his own hands 

he put flowers about his little house-boat, and equipped the 

punt, in which, after lunch, he proposed to take them on the 

river. Placing those Chinese-looking cushions, he could 

not tell whether or no he wished to take Annette alone. 

She was so very pretty — could he trust himself not to say 

irrevocable words, passing beyond the limits of discretion ? 

Roses on the veranda were still in bloom, and the hedges 

evergreen, so that there was almost nothing of middle-aged 

autumn to chill the mood; yet was he nervous, fidgety, 

strangely distrustful of his powers to steer just the right 

course. This visit had been planned to produce in Annette 

and her mother a due sense of his possessions, so that they 

should be ready to receive with respect any overture he 

might later be disposed to make. He dressed with great 

care, making himself neither too young nor too old, very 

thankful that his hair was still thick and smooth and had no 

grey in it. Three times he went up to his picture-gallery. 

If they had any knowledge at all, they must see at once that 

his collection alone was worth at least thirty thousand pounds. 

He minutely inspected, too, the pretty bedroom overlooking 

the river where they would take off their hats. It would be 

her bedroom if — if the matter went through, and she became 

his wife. Going up to the dressing-table he passed his hand 



over the lilac-coloured pincushion, into which were stuck all 
kinds of pins; a bowl of pot-pourri exhaled a scent that made 
his head turn just a little. His wife ! If only the whole 
thing could be settled out of hand, and there was not the 
nightmare of this divorce to be gone through first; and with 
gloom puckered on his forehead, he looked out at the river 
shining beyond the roses and the lawn. Madame Lamotte 
would never resist this prospect for her child; Annette 
would never resist her mother. If only he were free ! 
He drove to the station to meet them. What taste French- 
women had ! Madame Lamotte was in black with touches 
of lilac colour, Annette in greyish lilac linen, with cream 
coloured gloves and hat. Rather pale she looked and Lon- 
dony; and her blue eyes were demure. Waiting for them 
to come down to lunch, Soames stood in the open french- 
window of the dining-room moved by that sensuous delight 
in sunshine and flowers and trees which only came to the 
full when youth and beauty were there to share it with one. 
He had ordered the lunch with intense consideration; the 
wine was a very special Sauterne, the whole appointments of 
the meal perfect, the coffee served on the veranda super- 
excellent. Madame Lamotte accepted crcme de menthe; 
Annette refused. Her manners were charming, with just 
a suspicion of ' the conscious beauty ' creeping into them. 
' Yes,' thought Soames, ' another year of London and that 
sort of life, and she'll be spoiled.' 

Madame was in sedate French raptures. " Adorable ! 
Le soleil est si bon ! How everything is chic, is it not, 
Annette ? Monsieur is a real Monte Cristo." Annette 
murmured assent, with a look up at Soames which he could 
not read. He proposed a turn on the river. But to punt 
two persons when one of them looked so ravishing on those 
Chinese cushions was merely to suffer from a sense of lost 
opportunity; so they went but a short way towards Pang- 


bourne, drifting slowly back, with every now and then an 
autumn leaf dropping on Annette or on her mother's black 
amplitude. And Soames was not happy, worried by the 
thought: 'How — when — where — can I say — what?' They 
did not yet even know that he was married. To tell them 
he was married might jeopardise his every chance; yet, if he 
did not definitely make them understand that he wished for 
Annette's hand, it would be dropping into some other 
clutch before he was free to claim it. 

At tea, which they both took with lemon, Soames spoke 
of the Transvaal. 

" There'll be war," he said. 

Madame Lamotte lamented. 

" Ces pauvres gens bergers P' Could they not be left 
to themselves ? 

Soames smiled — the question seemed to him absurd. 

Surely as a woman of business she understood that the 
British could not abandon their legitimate commercial 

" Ah ! that !" But Madame Lamotte found that the 
English were a little hypocrite. They were talking of justice 
and the Uitlanders, not of business. Monsieur was the first 
who had spoken to her of that. 

"The Boers are only half-civilised," remarked Soames; 
" they stand in the way of progress. It will never do to let 
our suzerainty go." 

*' What does that mean to say ? Suzerainty ! What a 
strange word !" Soames became eloquent, roused by these 
threats to the principle of possession, and stimulated by 
Annette's eyes fixed on him. He was delighted when 
presently she said: 

" I think Monsieur is right. They should be taught a 
lesson." She was sensible ! 

" Of course," he said, " we must act with moderation. 


I'm no jingo. We must be firm without bullying. Will 
you come up and see my pictures ?" Moving from one to 
another of these treasures, he soon perceived that they knew 
nothing. They passed his last Mauve, that remarkable 
study of a ' Hay-cart going Home,' as if it were a lithograph. 
He waited almost with awe to see how they would view the 
jewel of his collection — an Israels whose price he had 
watched ascending till he was now almost certain it had 
reached top value, and would be better on the market again. 
They did not view it at all. This was a shock; and yet to 
have in Annette a virgin taste to form would be better than 
to have the silly, half-baked predilections of the English 
middle-class to deal with. At the end of the gallery was 
a Meissonier of which he was rather ashamed — Meissonier 
was so steadily going down. Madame Lamotte stopped 
before it. 

" Meissonier ! Ah ! What a jewel !" She had heard the 
name; Soames took advantage of that moment. Very gently 
touching Annette's arm, he said: 

" How do you like my place, Annette ?" 

She did not shrink, did not respond; she looked at him full, 
looked down, and murmured: 

" Who would not like it ? It is so beautiful !" 

" Perhaps some day " Soames said, and stopped. 

So pretty she was, so self-possessed — she frightened him. 
Those cornflower-blue eyes, the turn of that creamy neck, 
her delicate curves — she was a standing temptation to indis- 
cretion ! No ! No ! One must be sure of one's ground — 
much surer ! ' If I hold off,' he thought, ' it will tantalise 
her.' And he crossed over to Madame Lamotte, who was 
still in front of the Meissonier, 

" Yes, that's quite a good example of his later work. You 
must come again, madame, and see them lighted up. You 
must both come and spend a night," 


Enchanted, would it not be beautiful to see them lighted ? 
By moonlight too, the river must be ravishing ! 

Annette murmured: 

" Thou art sentimental, MamanP' 

Sentimental ! That black-robed, comely, substantial 
Frenchwoman of the world ! And suddenly he was certain 
as he could be that there was no sentiment in either of them. 
AH the better. Of what use sentiment ? And yet ! 

He drov.e to the station with them, and saw them into the 
train. To the tightened pressure of his hand it seemed 
that Annette's fingers responded just a little; her face smiled 
at him through the dark. 

He went back to the carriage, brooding. " Go on home, 
Jordan," he said to the coachman; " I'll walk." And he 
strode out into the darkening lanes, caution and the desire 
of possession playing see-saw within him. " Bon soir^ 
monsieur!''^ How softly she had said it. To know 
what was in her mind ! The French — they were like cats — 
one could tell nothing ! But — how pretty ! What a 
perfect young thing to hold in one's arms ! What a mother 
for his heir ! And he thought, with a smile, of his family 
and their surprise at a French wife, and their curiosity, and 
of the way he would play with it and buffet it — confound 
them ! The poplars sighed in the darkness; an owl hooted. 
Shadows deepened in the water. ' I will and must be free,' 
he thought. * I won't hang about any longer. I'll go and 
see Irene. If you want things done, do them yourself. I 
must live again — live and move and have my being.' And 
in echo to that queer biblicality church-bells chimed the 
call to evening prayer. 



On a Tuesday evening after dining at his Club Soames set 
out to do what required more courage and perhaps less 
delicacy than anything he had yet undertaken in his life — 
save perhaps his birth, and one other action. He chose the 
evening, indeed, partly because Irene was more likely to be 
in, but mainly because he had failed to find sufficient 
resolution by daylight, had needed wine to give him extra 

He left his hansom on the Embankment, and walked up 
to the Old Church, uncertain of the block of flats where 
he knew she lived. He found it hiding behind a much larger 
mansion; and having read the name, ' Mrs. Irene Heron ' 
— Heron, forsooth ! Her maiden name: so she used that 
again, did she ? — he stepped back into the road to look up 
at the windows of the first floor. Light was coming 
through in the corner flat, and he could hear a piano being 
played. He had never had a love of music, had secretly 
borne it a grudge in the old days when so often she had 
turned to her piano, making of it a refuge place into which 
she knew he could not enter. Repulse ! The long repulse, 
at first restrained and secret, at last open ! Bitter memory 
came with that sound. It must be she playing, and thus 
almost assured of seeing her, he stood more undecided than 
ever. Shivers of anticipation ran through him; his tongue 
felt dry, his heart beat fast. ' / have no cause to be afraid,' 
he thought. And then the lawyer stirred within him. 
Was he doing a foolish thing ? Ought he not to have 



arranged a formal meeting in the presence of her trustee ? 
No ! Not before that fellow Jolyon, who sympathised with 
her ! Never ! He crossed back into the doorway, and, 
slowly, to keep down the beating of his heart, mounted the 
single flight of stairs and rang the bell. When the door was 
opened to him his sensations were regulated by the scent 
which came — that perfume — from away back in the past, 
bringing muffled remembrance: fragrance of a drawing- 
room he used to enter, of a house he used to own — perfume 
of dried rose-leaves and honey ! 

" Say, Mr. Forsyte," he said, " your mistress will see me, 
I know." He had thought this out; she would think it was 
Jolyon ! 

When the maid was gone and he was alone in the tiny 
hall, where the light was dim from one pearly-shaded sconce, 
and walls, carpet, everything was silvery, making the walled- 
in space all ghostly, he could only think ridiculously: ' Shall 
I go in with my overcoat on, or take it oft ?' The music 
ceased, the maid said from the doorway: 

" Will you walk in, sir ?" 

Soames walked in. He noted mechanically that all was 
still silvery, and that the upright piano was of satinwood. 
She had risen and stood recoiled against it; her hand, placed 
on the keys as if groping for support, had struck a sudden 
discord, held for a moment, and released. The light from 
the shaded piano-candle fell on her neck, leaving her face 
rather in shadow. She was in a black evening dress, with a 
sort of mantilla over her shoulders — he did not remember 
ever having seen her in black, and the thought passed through 
him : ' She dresses even when she's alone.' 

" You !" he heard her whisper. 

Many times Soames had rehearsed this scene in fancy. 
Rehearsal served him not at all. He simply could not speak. 
He had never thought that the sight of this woman whom 


he had once so passionately desired, so completely owned, 
and whom he had not seen for twelve years, could affect him 
in this way. He had imagined himself speaking and acting, 
half as man of business, half as judge. And now it was as 
if he were in the presence not of a mere woman and erring 
wife, but of some force, subtle and elusive as atmosphere 
itself, within him and outside. A kind of defensive irony 
welled up in him. 

" Yes, it's a queer visit ! I hope you're well." 

" Thank you. Will you sit down ?" 

She had moved away from the piano, and gone over to a 
window-seat, sinking on to it, with her hands clasped in her 
lap. Light fell on her there, so that Soames could see her 
face, eyes, hair, strangely as he remembered them, strangely 

He sat down on the edge of a satin-wood chair, upholstered 
with silver-coloured stuff, close to where he was standing. 

" You have not changed," he said. 

" No ? What have you come for ?" 

" To discuss things." 

" I have heard what you want from your cousin." 

" Well f " 

" I am willing. I have always been." 

The sound of her voice, reserved and close, the sight of her 
figure watchfully poised, defensive, was helping him now. 
A thousand memories of her, ever on the watch against him, 
stirred, and he said bitterly: 

" Perhaps you will be good enough, then, to give me 
information on which I can act. The law must be complied 

" I have none to give you that you don't know of." 

" Twelve years ! Do you suppose I can believe that ?" 

" I don't suppose you will believe anything I say; but it's 
the truth." 


Soames looked at her hard. He had said that she had not 
changed; now he perceived that she had. Not in face, 
except that it was more beautiful; not in form, except that 
it was a Httle fuller — no ! She had changed spiritually. 
There was more of her, as it were, something of activity and 
daring, where there had been sheer passive resistance. 
* Ah !' he thought, ' that's her independent income ! 
Confound Uncle Jolyon !' 

" I suppose you're comfortably off now ?" he said. 
" Thank you, yes." 

" Why didn't you let me provide for you ? I would have, 
in spite of everything." 

A faint smile came on her lips; but she did not answer. 
" You are still my wife," said Soames. Why he said that, 
what he meant by it, he knew neither when he spoke nor 
after. It was a truism almost preposterous, but its effect 
was startling. She rose from the window-seat, and stood 
for a moment perfectly still, looking at him. He could see 
her bosom heaving. Then she turned to the window and 
threw it open. 

" Why do that ?" he said sharply, " You'll catch cold in 
that dress. I'm not dangerous." And he uttered a little 
sad laugh. 

She echoed it — faintly, bitterly. 
" It was— habit." 

" Rather odd habit," said Soames as bitterly. " Shut 
the window !" 

She shut it and sat down again. She had developed power, 
this woman — this — wife of his ! He felt it issuing from her 
as she sat there, in a sort of armour. And almost uncon- 
sciously he rose and moved nearer; he wanted to see the 
expression on her face. Her eyes met his unflinching. 
Heavens ! how clear they were, and what a dark brown 
against that white skin, and that burnt-amber hair ! And 


how white her shoulders ! Funny sensation this ! He 
ought to hate her. 

" You had better tell me," he said; " it's to your advantage 
to be free as well as to mine. That old matter is too old." 
" I have told you." 

" Do you mean to tell me there has been nothing — 
nobody ?" 

" Nobody. You must go to your own life." 
Stung by that retort, Soames moved towards the piano 
and back to the hearth, to and fro, as he had been wont in 
the old days in their drawing-room when his feelings were 
too much for him. 

" That won't do," he said, " You deserted me. In 

common justice it's for you " 

He saw her shrug those white shoulders, heard her 

" Yes. Why didn't you divorce me then ? Should I 
have cared ?" 

He stopped, and looked at her intently with a sort of 
curiosity. What on earth did she do with herself, if she 
really lived quite alone ? And why had he not divorced 
her ? The old feeling that she had never understood him, 
never done him justice, bit him while he stared at her. 
" Why couldn't you have made me a good wife ?" he said. 
" Yes; it was a crime to marry you. I have paid for it. 
You will find some way perhaps. You needn't mind my 
name, I have none to lose. Now I think you had better go." 
A sense of defeat — of being defrauded of his self-justifi- 
cation, and of something else beyond power of explanation 
to himself, beset Soames like the breath of a cold fog. 
Mechanically he reached up, took from the mantel-shelf 
a little china bowl, reversed it, and said: 

" Lowestoft. Where did you get this ? I bought its 
fellow at Jobson's." And, visited by the sudden memory 


of how, those many years ago, he and she had bought china 
together, he remained staring at the little bowl, as if it 
contained all the past. Her voice roused him. 

" Take it. I don't want it." 

Soames put it back on the shelf. 

" Will you shake hands ?" he said. 

A faint smile curved her lips. She held out her hand, 
[t was cold to his rather feverish touch. ' She's made of ice,' 
he thought — ' she was always made of ice !' But even 
as that thought darted through him, his senses were assailed 
by the perfume of her dress and body, as though the warmth 
within her, which had never been for him, were struggling 
to show its presence. And he turned on his heel. He walked 
out and away, as if someone with a whip were after him, 
not even looking for a cab, glad of the empty Embankment 
and the cold river, and the thick-strewn shadows of the 
plane-tree leaves — confused, flurried, sore at heart, and 
vaguely disturbed, as though he had made some deep 
mistake whose consequences he could not foresee. And 
the fantastic thought suddenly assailed him: if instead of: 
' I think you had better go,' she had said, ' I think you 
had better stay '! What should he have felt, what would he 
have done ? That cursed attraction of her was there 
for him even now, after all these years of estrangement and 
bitter thoughts. It was there, ready to mount to his head 
at a sign, a touch. " I was a fool to go !" he muttered. 
" I've advanced nothing. Who could imagine ? I never 

thought !" Memory, flown back to the first years of 

his marriage, played him torturing tricks. She had not 
deserved to keep her beauty — the beauty he had owned and 
known so well. And a kind of bitterness at the tenacity 
of his own admiration welled up in him. Most men would 
have hated the sight of her, as she had deserved. She had 
spoiled his life, wounded his pride to death, defrauded him 



of a son. And yet the mere sight of her, cold and resisting 
as ever, had this power to upset him utterly ! It was some 
damned magnetism she had ! And no wonder if, as she 
asserted, she had lived untouched these last twelve years. 
So Bosinney — cursed be his memory ! — had lived on all this 
time with her ! Soames could not tell whether he was glad 
of that knowledge or no, 

Nearing his Club at last he stopped to buy a paper. A 
headline ran: 'Boers reported to repudiate suzerainty!' 
Suzerainty ! ' Just like her !' he thought: 'she always did. 
Suzerainty ! I still have it by rights. She must be awfully 
lonely in that wretched little fiat !' 



SoAMEs belonged to two Clubs, * The Connoisseurs,' which 
he put on his cards and seldom visited, and ' The Remove,' 
which he did not put on his cards and frequented. He 
had joined this Liberal institution five years ago, having 
made sure that its members were now nearly all sound 
Conservatives in heart and pocket, if not in principle. 
Uncle Nicholas had put him up. The fine reading-room 
was decorated in the Adam style. 

On entering that evening he glanced at the tape for any 
news about the Transvaal, and noted that Consols were 
down seven-sixteenths since the morning. He was turning 
away to seek the reading-room when a voice behind him said: 

" Well, Soames, that went off all right." 

It was Uncle Nicholas, in a frock-coat and his special 
cut-away collar, with a black tie passed through a ring. 
Heavens ! How young and dapper he looked at eighty- 
three ! 

" I think Roger'd have been pleased," his uncle went on, 
" The thing was very well done. Blackley's ? I'll make a 
note of them. Buxton's done me no good. These Boers 
are upsetting me — that fellow Chamberlain's driving the 
country into war. What do you think ?" 

" Bound to come," murmured Soames. 

Nicholas passed his hand over his thin, clean-shaven cheeks, 
very rosy after his summer cure; a slight pout had gathered 
on his lips. This business had revived all his Liberal prin- 



" I mistrust that chap; he's a stormy petrel. House- 
property will go down if there's war. You'll have trouble 
with Roger's estate. I often told him he ought to get out of 
some of his houses. He was an opinionated beggar." 

' There was a pair of you !' thought Soames. But he 
never argued with an uncle, in that way preserving their 
opinion of him as ' a long-headed chap,' and the legal care 
of their property. 

" They tell me at Timothy's," said Nicholas, lowering 
his voice, " that Dartie has gone of? at last. That'll be a 
relief to your father. He was a rotten egg.^^ 

Again Soames nodded. If there was a subject on which 
the Forsytes really agreed, it was the character of Montagu 

" You take care," said Nicholas, " or he'll turn up again. 
Winifred had better have the tooth out, I should say. No 
use preserving what's gone bad." 

Soames looked at him sideways. His nerves, exacerbated 
by the interview he had just come through, disposed him to 
see a personal allusion in those words. 

" I'm advising her," he said shortly. 

" Well," said Nicholas, " the brougham's waiting; I must 
get home. I'm very poorly. Remember me to your father." 

And having thus reconsecrated the ties of blood, he passed 
down the steps at his youthful gait and was wrapped into 
his fur coat by the junior porter. 

' I've never known Uncle Nicholas other than " very 
poorly," ' mused Soames, ' or seen him look other than ever- 
lasting. What a family ! Judging by him, I've got thirty- 
eight years of health before me. Well, I'm not going to 
waste them.' And going over to a mirror he stood looking 
at his face. Except for a line or two, and three or four grey 
hairs in his little dark moustache, had he aged any more than 
Irene ? The prime of life — he and she in the very prime 


of life ! And a fantastic thought shot into his mind. 
Absurd ! Idiotic ! But again it came. And genuinely 
alarmed by the recurrence, as one is by the second fit of 
shivering which presages a feverish cold, he sat down on the 
weighing machine. Eleven stone ! He had not varied 
two pounds in twenty years. What age was she ? Nearly 
thirty-seven — not too old to have a child — not at all ! 
Thirty-seven on the ninth of next month. He remembered 
her birthday well — he had always observed it religiously, 
even that last birthday so soon before she left him, when he 
was almost certain she was faithless. Four birthdays in his 
house. He had looked forward to them, because his gifts 
had meant a semblance of gratitude, a certain attempt at 
warmth. Except, indeed, that last birthday — which had 
tempted him to be too religious ! And he shied away in 
thought. Memory heaps dead leaves on corpse-like deeds, 
from under which they do but vaguely offend the sense. 
And then he thought suddenly: ' I could send her a present 
for her birthday. After all, we're Christians ! Couldn't 
I — couldn't we join up again !' And he uttered a deep 
sigh sitting there. Annette ! Ah ! but between him 
and Annette was the need for that wretched divorce suit ! 
And how ? 

" A man can always work these things, if he'll take it on 
himself," Jolyon had said. 

But why should he take the scandal on himself with his 
whole career as a pillar of the law at stake? lu was not 
fair ! It was quixotic ! Twelve years' separation in which 
he had taken no steps to free himself put out of court the 
possibility of using her conduct with Bosinney as a ground 
for divorcing her. By doing nothing to secure relief he 
had acquiesced, even if the evidence could now be gathered, 
which was more than doubtful. Besides, his own pride 
would never let him use that old incident, he had suffered 


from it too much. No ! Nothing but fresh misconduct 
on her part — but she had denied it; and — almost — he had 
believed her. Hung up ! Utterly hung up ! 

He rose from the scooped-out red velvet seat with a feeling 
of constriction about his vitals. He would never sleep with 
this going on in him ! And, taking coat and hat again, he 
went out, moving eastward. In Trafalgar Square he became 
aware of some special commotion travelling towards him out 
of the mouth of the Strand. It materialised in newspaper 
men calling out so loudly that no words whatever could be 
heard. He stopped to listen, and one came by. 

" Payper ! Special ! Ultimatium by Krooger ! Declar- 
ation of war !" Soames bought the paper. There it was 
in the stop press ! His first thought was: ' The Boers are 
committing suicide.' His second: ' Is there anything still I 
ought to sell ?' If so he had missed the chance — there would 
certainly be a slump in the City to-morrow. He swallowed 
this thought with a nod of defiance. That ultimatum was 
insolent — sooner than let it pass he was prepared to lose 
money. They wanted a lesson, and they would get it; 
but it would take three months at least to bring them to 
heel. There weren't the troops out there; always behind 
time, the Government ! Confound those newspaper rats ! 
What was the use of waking everybody up ? Breakfast 
to-morrow was quite soon enough. And he thought with 
alarm of his father. They would cry it down Park Lane. 
Hailing a hansom, he got in and told the man to drive there. 

James and Emily had just gone up to bed, and after 
communicating the news to Warmson, Soames prepared 
to follow. He paused by after-thoueht to say: 

" What do you think of it, Warmson f" 

The butler ceased passing a hat brush over the silk hat 
Soames had taken off, and, inclining his face a little forward, 
said in a low voice: 


"Well, sir, they 'aven't a chance, of course; but I'm 
told they're very good shots. I've got a son in the Innis- 

" You, Warmson ? Why, I didn't know you were 

" No, sir. I don't talk of it. I expect he'll be going out." 

The slighter shock Soames had felt on discovering that he 
knew so little of one whom he thought he knew so well was 
lost in the slight shock of discovering that the war might 
touch one personally. Born in the year of the Crimean 
War, he had only come to consciousness by the time the 
Indian Mutiny was over; since then the many little wars of 
the British Empire had been entirely professional, quite 
unconnected with the Forsytes and all they stood for in the 
body politic. This war would surely be no exception. 
But his mind ran hastily over his family. Two of the 
Haymans, he had heard, were in some Yeomanry or other — 
it had always been a pleasant thought, there was a certain 
distinction about the Yeomanry; they wore, or used to wear, 
a blue uniform with silver about it, and rode horses. And 
Archibald, he remembered, had once on a time joined the 
Militia, but had given it up because his father, Nicholas, 
had made such a fuss about his ' wasting his time peacocking 
about in a uniform.' Recently he had heard somewhere 
that young Nicholas' eldest, very young Nicholas, had 
become a Volunteer. ' No,' thought Soames, mounting 
the stairs slowly, ' there's nothing in that !' 

He stood on the landing outside his parents' bed and 
dressing rooms, debating whether or not to put his nose 
in and say a reassuring word. Opening the landing window, 
he listened. The rumble from Piccadilly was all the sound 
he heard, and with the thought, ' If these motor-cars 
increase, it'll affect house property,' he was about to pass 
on up to the room always kept ready for him when he heard, 


distant as yet, the hoarse rushing call of a newsvendor. 
There it was, and coming past the house ! He knocked on 
his mother's door and went in. 

His father was sitting up in bed, with his ears pricked 
under the white hair which Emily kept so beautifully cut. 
He looked pink, and extraordinarily clean, in his setting of 
white sheet and pillow, out of which the points of his 
high, thin, night-gowned shoulders emerged in small peaks. 
His eyes alone, grey and distrustful under their withered 
lids, were moving from the window to Emily, who in a 
wrapper was walking up and down, squeezing a rubber ball 
attached to a scent bottle. The room reeked faintly of the 
eau-de-Cologne she was spraying. 

" All right !" said Soames, " it's not a fire. The Boers 
have declared war — that's all." 

Emily stopped her spraying. 

" Oh !" was all she said, and looked at James. 

Soames, too, looked at his father. He was taking it 
differently from their expectation, as if some thought, 
strange to them, were working in him. 

*' H'm !" he muttered suddenly, " I shan't live to see the 
end of this." 

" Nonsense, James ! It'll be over by Christmas." 

" What do you know about it ?" James answered her with 
asperity. " It's a pretty mess — at this time of night, too !" 
He lapsed into silence, and his wife and son, as if hypnotised, 
waited for him to say: ' I can't tell — I don't know; I knew 
how it would be !' But he did not. The grey eyes shifted, 
evidently seeing nothing in the room; then movement 
occurred under the bedclothes, and the knees were drawn 
up suddenly to a great height. 

" They ought to send out Roberts. It all comes from 
that fellow Gladstone and his Majuba." 

The two listeners noted something beyond the usual in his 


■ voice, something of real anxiety. It was as if he had said: 
' I shall never see the old country peaceful and safe again. 
I shall have to die before I know she's won.' And in spite 
of the feeling that James must not be encouraged to be fussy, 
they were touched. Soames went up to the bedside and 
stroked his father's hand which had emerged from under the 
bedclothes, long and wrinkled with veins. 

" Mark my words !" said James, " consols will go to par. 
For all I know, Val may go and enlist." 

" Oh, come, James !" cried Emily, " you talk as if 
there were danger." 

Her comfortable voice seemed to soothe James for once. 
" Well," he muttered, " I told you how it would be. I 
don't know, I'm sure — nobody tells me anything. Are you 
sleeping here, my boy ?" 

The crisis was past, he would now compose himself to his 
normal degree of anxiety: and, assuring his father that he 
was sleeping in the house, Soames pressed his hand, and went 
up to his room. 

The following afternoon witnessed the greatest crowd 
Timothy's had known for many a year. On national 
occasions, such as this, it was, indeed, almost impossible to 
avoid going there. Not that there was any danger, or rather, 
only just enough to make it necessary to assure each other 
that there was none. 

Nicholas was there early. He had seen Soames the night 
before — Soames had said it was bound to come. This old 
Kruger was in his dotage — why, he must be seventy-five if 
he was a day ! (Nicholas was eighty-three.) What had 
Timothy said? He had had a lit after Majuba. These 
Boers were a grasping lot ! The dark-haired Francie, who 
had arrived on his heels, with the contradictious touch which 
became the free spirit of a daughter of Roger, chimed in: 
" Kettle and pot ! Uncle Nicholas. What price the 


Uitlanders ?" What price, indeed ! A new expression, and 
believed to be due to her brother George. 

Aunt Juley thought Francie ought not to say such a thing. 
Dear Mrs. MacAnder's boy, Charlie MacAnder, was one, 
and no one could call him grasping. At this Francie uttered 
one of her mots^ scandalising, and so frequently repeated: 

" Well, his father's a Scotchman, and his mother's a cat." 

Aunt Juley covered her cars, too late, but Aunt Hester 
smiled; as for Nicholas, he pouted — witticism of which he 
was not the author was hardly to his taste. Just then 
Marian Tweetyman arrived, followed almost immediately 
by young Nicholas. On seeing his son, Nicholas rose. 

" Well, I must be going," he said, " Nick here will tell 
you what'll win the race." And with this hit at his eldest, 
who, as a pillar of accountancy, and director of an insurance 
company, was no more addicted to sport than his father 
had ever been, he departed. Dear Nicholas ! What race 
was that ? Or was it only one of his jokes ? He was a wonder- 
ful man for his age ! How many lumps would dear Marian 
take ? And how were Giles and Jesse ? Aunt Juley 
supposed their Yeomanry would be very busy now guarding 
the coast, though of course the Boers had no ships. But 
one never knew what the French might do if they had the 
chance, especially since that dreadful Fashoda scare, which 
had upset Timothy so terribly that he had made no invest- 
ments for months afterwards. It was the ingratitude of the 
Boers that was so dreadful, after everything had been done 
for them — Dr. Jameson imprisoned, and he was so nice, 
Mrs. MacAnder had always said. And Sir Alfred Milner 
sent out to talk to them — such a clever man ! She didn't 
know what they wanted. 

But at this moment occurred one of those sensations — • 
so precious at Timothy's — which great occasions sometimes 
bring forth : 


" Miss June Forsyte." 

Aunts Juley and Hester were on their feet at once, trembling 
from smothered resentment, and old affection bubbling up, 
and pride at the return of a prodigal June ! Well, this was 
a surprise ! Dear June — after all these years ! And how 
well she was looking ! Not changed at all ! It was almost 
on their lips to add, ' And how is your dear grandfather ?' 
forgetting in that giddy moment that poor dear Jolyon had 
been in his grave for seven years now. 

Ever the most courageous and downright of all the 
Forsytes, June, with her decided chin and her spirited eyes 
and her hair like flames, sat down, slight and short, on a 
gilt chair with a bead-worked seat, for all the world as if 
ten years had not elapsed since she had been to see them — 
ten years of travel and independence and devotion to 
lame ducks. Those ducks of late had been all definitely 
painters, etchers, or sculptors, so that her impatience 
with the Forsytes and their hopelessly inartistic outlook 
had become intense. Indeed, she had almost ceased to 
believe that her family existed, and looked round her now 
with a sort of challenging directness which brought exquisite 
discomfort to the roomful. She had not expected to meet 
any of them but ' the poor old things '; and why she had 
come to see them she hardly knew, except that, while on 
her way from Oxford Street to a studio in Latimer Road, 
she had suddenly remembered them with compunction as 
two long- neglected old lame ducks. 

Aunt Juley broke the hush again: "We've just been 
saying, dear, how dreadful it is about these Boers ! And 
what an impudent thing of that old Kruger !" 

" Impudent !" said June. " I think he's quite right. 
What business have we to meddle with them ? If he turned 
out all those wretched Uitlanders it would serve them right. 
They're only after money." 


The silence of sensation was broken by Francie saying: 

" What ? Are you a pro-Boer ?" (undoubtedly the first 
use of that expression). 

" Well ! Why can't we leave them alone ?" said June, 
just as, in the open doorway, the maid said: " Mr. Soames 
Forsyte." Sensation on sensation ! Greeting was almost 
held up by curiosity to see how June and he would take this 
encounter, for it was shrewdly suspected, if not quite known, 
that they had not met since that old and lamentable affair 
of her fiance Bosinney with Soames' wife. They were seen 
to just touch each other's hands, and look each at the other's 
left eye only. Aunt Juley came at once to the rescue: 

" Dear June is so original. Fancy, Soames, she thinks 
the Boers are not to blame." 

" They only want their independence," said June; " and 
why shouldn't they have it ?" 

" Because," answered Soames, with his smile a little on 
one side, " they happen to have agreed to our suzerainty." 

" Suzerainty !" repeated June scornfully; " we shouldn't 
like anyone's suzerainty over us." 

"They got advantages in payment," replied Soames; 
" a contract is a contract." 

" Contracts are not always just," flamed June, " and 
when they're not, they ought to be broken. The Boers 
are much the weaker. We could afford to be generous." 

Soames sniffed. " That's mere sentiment," he said. 

Aunt Hester, to whom nothing was more awful than any 
kind of disagreement, here leaned forward and remarked 

" What lovely weather it has been for the time of year ?" 

But June was not to be diverted. 

" I don't know why sentiment should be sneered at. 
It's the best thing in the world." She looked defiantly 
round, and Aunt Juley had to intervene again: 


" Have you bought any pictures lately, Soames ?" 

Her incomparable instinct for the wrong subject had not 
failed her. Soames flushed. To disclose the name of his 
latest purchases would be like walking into the jaws of 
disdain. For somehow they all knew of June's predilection 
for ' genius ' not yet on its legs, and her contempt for 
' success ' unless she had had a finger in securing it, 

" One or two," he muttered. 

But June's face had changed; the Forsyte within her was 
seeing its chance. Why should not Soames buy some of 
the pictures of Eric Cobbley — her last lame duck ? And 
she promptly opened her attack: Did Soames know his work ? 
It was so wonderful. He was the coming man. 

Oh yes, Soames knew his work. It was in his view 
* splashy,' and would never get hold of the public. 

June blazed up. 

" Of course it won't; that's the last thing one would wish 
for. I thought you were a connoisseur, not a picture-dealer." 

" Of course Soames is a connoisseur," Aunt Juley said 
hastily; " he has wonderful taste — he can always tell before- 
hand what's going to be successful." 

" Oh !" gasped June, and sprang up from the bead- 
covered chair, " I hate that standard of success. Why 
can't people buy things because they like them ?" 

" You mean," said Francie, " because you like them." 

And in the slight pause young Nicholas was heard saying 
gently that Violet (his third) was taking lessons in pastel, 
he didn't know if they were any use. 

" Well, good-bye. Auntie," said June; " I must get on," 
and kissing her aunts, she looked defiantly round the room, 
said " Good-bye " again, and went. A breeze seemed to 
pass out with her, as if everyone had sighed. 

The third sensation came before anyone had time to speak: 

" Mr. James Forsyte." 


James came in using a stick slightly and wrapped in a fur 
coat which gave him a fictitious bulk. 

Everyone stood up, James was so old; and he had not 
been at Timothy's for nearly two years. 

" It's hot in here," he said. 

Soames divested him of his coat, and as he did so could not 
help admiring the glossy way his father was turned out. 
James sat down, all knees, elbows, frock-coat, and long white 

" What's the meaning of that ?" he said. 

Though there was no apparent sense in his words, they aU 
knew that he was referring to June. His eyes searched his 
son's face. 

" I thought I'd come and see for myself. What have they 
answered Kruger ?" 

Soames took out an evening paper, and read the headline. 

" ' Instant action by our Government — state of war 
existing !' " 

" Ah !" said James, and sighed. " I was afraid they'd 
cut and run like old Gladstone. We shall finish with them 
this time." 

All stared at him. James ! Always fussy, nervous, 
anxious ! James with his continual, ' I told you how it 
would be !' and his pessimism, and his cautious investments. 
There was something uncanny about such resolution in this 
the oldest living Forsyte. 

"Where's Timothy?" said James. "He ought to pay 
attention to this." 

Aunt Juley said she didn't know; Timothy had not said 
much at lunch to-day. Aunt Hester rose and threaded 
her way out of the room, and Francie said rather maliciously: 

" The Boers are a hard nut to crack, Uncle James." 

" H'm !" muttered James. " Where do you get your 
information ? Nobody tells me." 


Young Nicholas remarked in his mild voice that Nick 
(his eldest) was now going to drill regularly. 

" Ah !" muttered James, and stared before him — his 
thoughts were on Val. " He's got to look after his mother," 
he said, " he's got no time for drilling and that, with that 
father of his." This cryptic saying produced silence, until 
he spoke again. 

" What did June want here ?" And his eyes rested with 
suspicion on all of them in turn. " Her father's a rich man 
now." The conversation turned on Jolyon, and when he 
had been seen last. It was supposed that he went abroad 
and saw all sorts of people now that his wife was dead; 
his water-colours were on the line, and he was a successful 
man. Francie went so far as to say: 

" I should like to see him again; he was rather a dear." 

Aunt Juley recalled how he had gone to sleep on the sofa 
one day, where James was sitting. He had always been very 
amiable; what did Soames think ? 

Knowing that Jolyon was Irene's trustee, all felt the 
delicacy of this question, and looked at Soames with interest. 
A faint pink had come up in his cheeks. 

" He's going grey," he said. 

Indeed ! Had Soames seen him ? Soames nodded, and 
the pink vanished. 

James said suddenly: " Well — I don't know, I can't tell." 

It so exactly expressed the sentiment of everybody present 
that there was something behind everything, that nobody 
responded. But at this moment Aunt Hester returned. 

" Timothy," she said in a low voice, " Timothy has 
bought a map, and he's put in — he's put in three flags." 

Timothy had ! A sigh went round the company. 

If Timothy had indeed put in three flags already, well ! — 
it showed what the nation could do when it was roused. 
The war was as good as over. 



JoLYON Stood at the window in Holly's old night nursery, 
converted into a studio, not because it had a north light, but 
for its view over the prospect away to the Grand Stand at 
Epsom. He shifted to the side window which overlooked 
the stableyard, and whistled down to the dog Balthasar 
who lay for ever under the clock tower. The old dog looked 
up and wagged his tail. ' Poor old boy !' thought Jolyon, 
shifting back to the other window. 

He had been restless all this week, since his attempt to 
prosecute trusteeship, uneasy in his conscience which was 
ever acute, disturbed in his sense of compassion which was 
easily excited, and with a queer sensation as if his feeling 
for beauty had received some definite embodiment. Autumn 
was getting hold of the old oak-tree, its leaves were browning. 
Sunshine had been plentiful and hot this summer. As with 
trees, so with men's lives ! ' / ought to live long,' thought 
Jolyon; ' I'm getting mildewed for want of heat. If I 
can't work, I shall be off to Paris.' But memory of Paris 
gave him no pleasure. Besides, how could he go ? He 
must stay and sec what Soames was going to do. * I'm 
her trustee. I can't leave her unprotected,' he thought. 
It had been striking him as curious how very clearly he could 
still see Irene in her little drawing-room which he had only 
twice entered. Her beauty must have a sort of poignant 
harmony ! No literal portrait would ever do her justice; 
the essence of her was — ah ! yes, what ? . . . The noise of 
hoofs called him back to the other window. Holly was 



riding into the yard on her long-tailed * palfrey.' She 
looked up and he waved to her. She had been rather 
silent lately; getting old, he supposed, beginning to want her 
future, as they all did — youngsters ! Time was certainly 
the devil ! And with the feeling that to waste this swift- 
travelling commodity was unforgivable folly, he took up his 
brush. But it was no use; he could not concentrate his 
eye — besides, the light was going. ' I'll go up to town,' 
he thought. In the hall a servant met him. 

" A lady to see you, sir; Mrs. Heron." 

Extraordinary coincidence ! Passing into the picture- 
gallery, as it was still called, he saw Irene standing over by 
the window. 

She came towards him saying: 

" I've been trespassing; I came up through the coppice 
and garden. I always used to come that way to see Uncle 

" You couldn't trespass here," replied Jolyon; " history 
makes that impossible. I was just thinking of you." 

Irene smiled. And it was as if something shone through; 
not mere spirituality — serener, completer, more alluring. 

" History !" she murmured. " I once told Uncle 
Jolyon that love was for ever. Well, it isn't. Only 
aversion lasts." 

Jolyon stared at her. Had she got over Bosinney at 
last ? 

" Yes !" he said, " aversion's deeper than love or hate 
because it's a natural product of the nerves, and we don't 
change them." 

" I came to tell you that Soames has been to see 
me. He said a thing that frightened me. He said: ' You 
are still my wife '! " 

" What !" ejaculated Jolyon. " You ought not to live 
alone." And he continued to stare at her, afflicted by the 



thought that where Beauty was, nothing ever ran quite 
straight, which, no doubt, was why so many people looked 
on it as immoral. 

" What more ?" 

" He asked me to shake hands." 

"Did you?" 

" Yes. When he came in I'm sure he didn't want to; 
he changed while he was there." 

" Ah ! you certainly ought not to go on living there 

" I know no woman I could ask; and I can't take a lover 
to order. Cousin Jolyon." 

" Heaven forbid !" said Jolyon. " What a damnable 
position ! Will you stay to dinner ? No ? Well, let 
me see you back to town; I wanted to go up this 

" Truly ?" 

" Truly. I'll be ready in five minutes." 

On that walk to the station they talked of pictures and 
music, contrasting the English and French characters and 
the difference in their attitude to Art. But to Jolyon the 
colours in the hedges of the long straight lane, the twittering 
of chaffinches who kept pace with them, the perfume of 
weeds being already burned, the turn of her neck, the 
fascination of those dark eyes bent on him now and then, 
the lure of her whole figure, made a deeper impression 
than the remarks they exchanged. Unconsciously he held 
himself straighter, walked with a more elastic step. 

In the train he put her through a sort of catechism as to 
what she did with her days. 

Made her dresses, shopped, visited a hospital, played her 
piano, translated from the French. She had regular work 
from a publisher, it seemed, which supplemented her income 
a little. She seldom went out in the evening. " I've been 


living alone so long, you see, that I don't mind it a bit. 
I believe I'm naturally solitary." 

" I don't believe that," said Jolyon. " Do you know 
many people ?" 
" Very few." 

At Waterloo they took a hansom, and he drove with her 
to the door of her mansions. Squeezing her hand at 
parting, he said: 

" You know, you could always come to us at Robin Hill; 
you must let me know everything that happens. Good- 
bye, Irene." 

" Good-bye," she answered softly. 

Jolyon climbed back into his cab, wondering why he had 
not asked her to dine and go to the theatre with him. 
Solitary, starved, hung-up life that she had ! " Hotch 
Potch Club," he said through the trap-door. As his hansom 
debouched on to the Embankment, a man in top-hat and 
overcoat passed, walking quickly, so close to the wall that he 
seemed to be scraping it. 

' By Jove !' thought Jolyon ; ' Soames himself ! What's 
he up to now ?' And, stopping the cab round the corner, 
he got out and retraced his steps to where he could see the 
entrance to the mansions. Soames had halted in front of 
them, and was looking up at the light in her windows. 
' If he goes in,' thought Jolyon, ' what shall I do .? What 
have I the right to do ?' What the fellov/ had said was true. 
She was still his wife, absolutely without protection from 
annoyance ! ' Well, if he goes in,' he thought, ' I follow.' 
And he began moving towards the mansions. Again Soames 
advanced; he was in the very entrance now. But 
suddenly he stopped, spun round on his heel, and came 
back towards the river. ' What now ?' thought Jolyon. 
' In a dozen steps he'll recognise me.' And he turned tail. 
His cousin's footsteps kept pace with his own. But he 


reached his cab, and got in before Soames had turned the 
corner. " Go on !" he said through the trap. Soames' 
figure ranged up alongside. 

" Hansom !" he said. " Engaged ? Hallo !" 

" Hallo !" answered Jolyon. " You ?" 

The quick suspicion on his cousin's face, white in the 
lamplight, decided him. 

" I can give you a lift," he said, " if you're going West." 

" Thanks," answered Soames, and got in. 

" I've been seeing Irene," said Jolyon when the cab had 

" Indeed !" 

" You went to see her yesterday yourself, I understand." 

" I did," said Soames; " she's my wife, you know." 

The tone, the half-lifted sneering lip, roused sudden 
anger in Jolyon; but he subdued it. 

" You ought to know best," he said, " but if you want a 
divorce it's not very wise to go seeing her, is it ? One can't 
run with the hare and hunt with the hounds." 

" You're very good to warn me," said Soames, " but I 
have not made up my mind." 

" She has," said Jolyon, looking straight before him; 
"you can't take things up, you know, as they were twelve 
years ago." 

" That remains to be seen." 

" Look here !" said Jolyon, " she's in a damnable 
position, and I am the only person with any legal say in her 

" Except myself," retorted Soames, " who am also in a 
damnable position. Hers is what she made for herself; 
mine what she made for me. I am not at all sure that in 
her own interests I shan't require her to return to me." 

" What !" exclaimed Jolyon; and a shiver went through 
his whole body. 


*' I don't know what you may mean by ' what,' " 
answered Soames coldly; " your say in her affairs is confined 
to paying out her income; please bear that in mind. In 
choosing not to disgrace her by a divorce, I retained my 
rights, and, as I say, I am not at all sure that I shan't require 
to exercise them." 

" My God !" ejaculated Jolyon, and he uttered a short 

" Yes," said Soames, and there was a deadly quality in 
his voice, " I've not forgotten the nickname your father 
gave me, ' The man of property ' ! I'm not called names 
for nothing." 

" This is fantastic," murmured Jolyon. Well, the fellow 
couldn't force his wife to live with him. Those days were 
past, anyway ! And he looked round at Soames with the 
thought: ' Is he real, this man?' But Soames looked very 
real, sitting square yet almost elegant with the clipped 
moustache on his pale face, and a tooth showing where 
a Hp was lifted in a fixed smile. There was a long silence, 
while Jolyon thought; ' Instead of helping her, I've made 
things worse.' Suddenly Soames said: 

" It would be the best thing that could happen to her 
in many ways. " 

At those words such a turmoil began taking place in Jolyon 
that he could barely sit still in the cab. It was as if he were 
boxed up with hundreds of thousands of his countrymen, 
boxed up with that something in the national character 
which had always been to him revolting, something which 
he knew to be extremely natural and yet which seemed to 
him inexplicable — their intense belief in contracts and vested 
rights, their complacent sense of virtue in the exaction of 
those rights. Here beside him in the cab was the very 
embodiment, the corporeal sum as it were, of the possessive 
instinct — his own kinsman, too ! It was uncanny and 


intolerable ! ' But there's something more In it than that !' 
he thought with a sick feeling. ' The dog, they say, returns 
to his vomit ! The sight of her has reawakened something. 
Beauty ! The devil's in it !' 

" As I say," said Soames, " I have not made up my mind. 
I shall be obliged if you will kindly leave her quite alone." 

Jolyon bit his lips ; he who had always hated rows almost 
welcomed the thought of one now, 

" I can give you no such promise," he said shortly. 

" Very well," said Soames, " then we know where we 
are. I'll get down here." And stopping the cab he got 
out without word or sign of farewell. Jolyon travelled on 
to his Club. 

The first news of the war was being called in the streets, 
but he paid no attention. What could he do to help her ? 
If only his father were alive ! He could have done so much ! 
But why could he not do all that his father could have done ? 
Was he not old enough ? — turned fifty and twice married, 
with grown-up daughters and a son. ' Queer,' he thought. 
* If she were plain I shouldn't be thinking twice about it. 
Beauty is the devil, when you're sensitive to it !' And into 
the Club reading-room he went with a disturbed heart. 
In that very room he and Bosinney had talked one summer 
afternoon; he well remembered even now the disguised 
and secret lecture he had given that young man in the 
interests of June, the diagnosis of the Forsytes he had 
hazarded; and how he had wondered what sort of woman 
it was he was warning him against. And now ! He was 
almost in want of a warning himself. ' It's deuced funny !' 
he thought, * really deuced funny !' 



It is so much easier to say, " Then we know where we are," 
than to mean anything particular by the words. And in 
saying them Soames did but vent the jealous rankling of 
his instincts. He got out of the cab in a state of wary anger 
— with himself for not having seen Irene, with Jolyon for 
having seen her; and now with his inability to tell exactly 
what he wanted. 

He had abandoned the cab because he could not bear 
to remain seated beside his cousin, and walking briskly 
eastwards he thought: ' I wouldn't trust that fellow Jolyon 
a yard. Once outcast, always outcast !' The chap had a 
natural sympathy with — with — laxity (he had shied at 
the word sin, because it was too melodramatic for use by a 

Indecision in desire was to him a new feeling. He was 
like a child between a promised toy and an old one which 
had been taken away from him; and he was astonished at 
himself. Only last Sunday desire had seemed simple — just 
his freedom and Annette. ' I'll go and dine there,' he 
thought. To see her might bring back his singleness of 
intention, calm his exasperation, clear his mind. 

The restaurant was fairly full — a good many foreigners 
and folk whom, from their appearance, he took to be literary 
or artistic. Scraps of conversation came his way through 
the clatter of plates and glasses. He distinctly heard the 
Boers sympathised with, the British Government blamed. 

* Don't think much of their clientele,' he thought. He 



went stolidly through his dinner and special coffee without 
making his presence known, and when at last he had finished, 
was careful not to be seen going towards the sanctum of 
Madame Lamotte. They were, as he expected, having 
supper — such a much nicer-looking supper than the dinner 
he had eaten that he felt a kind of grief — and they greeted 
him with a surprise so seemingly genuine that he thought 
with sudden suspicion : ' I believe they knew I was here all the 
time.' He gave Annette a look furtive and searching. 
So pretty, seemingly so candid; could she be angling for 
him ? He turned to Madame Lamotte and said: 
" I've been dining here." 

Really ! If she had only known ! There were dishes 
she could have recommended; what a pity ! Soames was 
confirmed in his suspicion. * I must look out what I'm 
doing !' he thought sharply. 

" Another little cup of very special coffee, monsieur ; 
a liqueur, Grand Marnier ?" and Madame Lamotte rose to 
order these delicacies. 

Alone with Annette, Soames said, " Well, Annette ?" 
with a defensive little smile about his lips. 

The girl blushed. This, which last Sunday would have 
set his nerves tingling, now gave him much the same feel- 
ing a man has when a dog that he owns wriggles and looks 
at him. He had a curious sense of power, as if he could 
have said to her, ' Come and kiss me,' and she would have 
come. And yet — it was strange — but there seemed an- 
other face and form in the room too; and the itch in his 
nerves, was it for that — or for this ? He jerked his head 
toward the restaurant and said: "You have some queer 
customers. Do you like this life ?" 

Annette looked up at him for a moment, looked down, 
and played with her fork. 

" No," she said, " I do not like it." 


' I've got her,' thought Soames, ' if I want her. But 
do I want her ?' She was graceful, she was pretty — very 
pretty; she was fresh, she had taste of a kind. His eyes 
travelled round the little room; but the eyes of his mind 
went another journey — a half-light, and silvery walls, 
a satinwood piano, a woman standing against it, reined 
back as it were from him — a woman with white shoulders 
that he knew, and dark eyes that he had sought to know, 
and hair like dull dark amber. And as in an artist who 
strives for the unrealisable and is ever thirsty, so there rose 
in him at that moment the thirst of the old passion he had 
never satisfied. 

" Well," he said calmly, " you're young. There's every- 
thing before yoM." 
Annette shook her head. 

" I think sometimes there is nothing before me but hard 
work. I am not so in love with work as mother." 

" Your mother is a wonder," said Soames, faintly mock- 
ing; " she will never let failure lodge in her house." 
Annette sighed. " It must be wonderful to be rich." 
*' Oh ! You'll be rich some day," answered Soames, still 
with that faint mockery; " don't be afraid." 

Annette shrugged her shoulders. " Monsieur is very 
kind." And between her pouting lips she put a chocolate. 
' Yes, my dear,' thought Soames, ' they're very pretty.' 
Madame Lamotte, with coffee and liqueur, put an end to 
that colloquy. Soames did not stay long. 

Outside in the streets of Soho, which always gave him 
such a feeling of property improperly owned, he mused. 
If only Irene had given him a son, he wouldn't now 
be squirming after women ! The thought had jumped 
out of its little dark sentry-box in his inner conscious- 
ness. A son — something to look forward to, some- 
thing to make the rest of life worth while, something to 


leave himself to, some perpetuity of self. * If I had a 
son,' he thought bitterly, ' a proper legal son, I could make 
shift to go on as I used. One woman's much the same as 
another, after all.' But as he walked he shook his head. 
No ! One woman was not the same as another. Many 
a time had he tried to think that in the old days of his 
thwarted married life; and he had always failed. He was 
failing now. He was trying to think Annette the same as 
that other. But she was not, she had not the lure of that 
old passion. ' And Irene's my wife,' he thought, ' my 
legal wife. I have done nothing to put her away from me. 
Why shouldn't she come back to me ? It's the right thing, 
the lawful thing. It makes no scandal, no disturbance. 
If it's disagreeable to her — but why should it be ? I'm not 
a leper, and she — she's no longer in love !' Why should he 
be put to the shifts and the sordid disgraces and the lurking 
defeats of the Divorce Court, when there she was like an 
empty house only waiting to be retaken into use and pos- 
session by him who legally owned her ? To one so secretive 
as Soames the thought of re-entry into quiet possession of 
his own property with nothing given away to the world 
was intensely alluring. ' No,' he mused, ' I'm glad I went 
to see that girl. I know now what I want most. If only 
Irene will come back I'll be as considerate as she wishes; 
she could live her own life; but perhaps — perhaps she 
would come round to me,' There was a lump in his throat. 
And doggedly along by the railings of the Green Park, 
towards his father's house, he went, trying to tread on his 
shadow walking before him in the brilliant moonlight. 




Jolly Forsyte was strolling down High Street, Oxford, 
on a November afternoon; Val Dartie was strolling up. 
Jolly had just changed out of boating flannels and was on 
his way to the * Frying-pan,' to which he had recently been 
elected. Val had just changed out of riding clothes and 
was on his way to the fire — a bookmaker's in Cornmarket. 

" Hallo !" said JoUy. 

" Hallo !" replied Val. 

The cousins had met but twice, Jolly, the second-year 
man, having invited the freshman to breakfast; and last 
evening they had seen each other again under somewhat 
exotic circumstances. 

Over a tailor's in the Cornmarket resided one of those 
privileged young beings called minors, whose inheritances 
are large, whose parents are dead, whose guardians are remote, 
and whose instincts are vicious. At nineteen he had com- 
menced one of those careers attractive and inexplicable to 
ordinary mortals for whom a single bankruptcy is good as a 
feast. Already famous for having the only roulette table 
then to be found in Oxford, he was anticipating his expec- 
tations at a dazzling rate. He out-crummed Crum, 
though of a sanguine and rather beefy type which lacked 
the latter's fascinating languor. For Val it had been in 
the nature of baptism to be taken there to play roulette; 
in the nature of confirmation to get back into college, after 
hours, through a window whose bars were deceptive. Once, 
during that evening of delight, glancing up from the seduc- 



tive green before him, he had caught sight, through a cloud 
of smoke, of his cousin standing opposite. ' Rouge gagne^ 
impair^ et manque /' He had not seen him again. 

" Come in to the Frying-pan and have tea," said Jolly, 
and they went in. 

A stranger, seeing them together, would have noticed 
an unseizable resemblance between these second cousins 
of the third generation of Forsytes; the same bone formation 
in face, though Jolly's eyes were darker grey, his hair lighter 
and more wavy. 

" Tea and buttered buns, waiter, please," said Jolly. 

" Have one of my cigarettes ?" said Val. " I saw you last 
night. How did you do ?" 

" I didn't play." 

" I won fifteen quid." 

Though desirous of repeating a whimsical comment on 
gambling he had once heard his father make — 'When you're 
fleeced you're sick, and when you fleece you're sorry ' — 
Jolly contented himself with: 

" Rotten game, I think; I was at school with that chap. 
He's an awful fool." 

" Oh ! I don't know," said Val, as one might speak in 
defence of a disparaged god; " he's a pretty good sport." 

They exchanged whiffs in silence. 

" You met my people, didn't you ?" said Jolly, " They're 
coming up to-morrow." 

Val grew a little red. 

" Really ! I can give you a rare good tip for the Man- 
chester November handicap." 

" Thanks, I only take interest in the classic races." 

" You can't make any money over them," said Val. 

" I hate the ring," said Jolly; " there's such a row and 
stink. I like the paddock." 

" I like to back my judgment," answered Val. 


Jolly smiled; his smile was like his father's. " I haven't 
got any. I always lose money if I bet." 

" You have to buy experience, of course." 

" Yes, but it's all messed-up with doing people in the eye." 

" Of course, or they'll do you — that's the excitement." 

Jolly looked a little scornful. 

" What do you do with yourself ? Row ?" 

" No — ride, and drive about. I'm going to play polo 
next term, if I can get my granddad to stump up." 

" That's old Uncle James, isn't it ? What's he like ?" 

" Older than forty hills," said Val, " and always thinking 
he's going to be ruined." 

" I suppose my granddad and he were brothers." 

" I don't believe any of that old lot were sportsmen," 
said Val; " they must have worshipped money." 

" Mine didn't !" said Jolly warmly. 

Val flipped the ash off his cigarette. 

" Money's only fit to spend," he said; " I wish the deuce 
I had more." 

Jolly gave him that direct upward look of judgment 
which he had inherited from old Jolyon: One didn't talk 
about money ! And again there was silence, while they 
drank tea and ate the buttered buns. 

" Where are your people going to stay ?" asked Val, 
elaborately casual. 

" * Rainbow.' What do you think of the war ?" 

" Rotten, so far. The Boers aren't sports a bit. Why 
don't they come out into the open ?" 

" Why should they ? They've got everything against 
them except their way of fighting. I rather admire them." 

" They can ride and shoot," admitted Val, " but they're 
a lousy lot. Do you know Crum ?" 

" Of Merton ? Only by sight. He's in that fast set 
too, isn't he ? Lather La-di-da and Brummagem," 


Val said fixedly: " He's a friend of mine." 
" Oh ! Sorry !" And they sat awkwardly staring past 
each other, having pitched on their pet points of snobbery. 
For Jolly was forming himself unconsciously on a set whose 
motto was: ' We defy you to bore us. Life isn't half long 
enough, and we're going to talk faster and more crisply, 
do more and know more, and dwell less on any subject than 
you can possibly imagine. We are " the best " — made of 
wire and whipcord.' And Val was unconsciously forming 
himself on a set whose motto was: ' We defy you to interest 
or excite us. We have had every sensation, or if we haven't, 
we pretend we have. We are so exhausted with living that 
no hours are too small for us. We will lose our shirts with 
equanimity. We have flown fast and are past everything. 
AH is cigarette smoke. Bismillah !' Competitive spirit, 
bone-deep in the English, was obliging those two young 
Forsytes to have ideals; and at the close of a century ideals 
are mixed. The aristocracy had already in the main adopted 
the ' jumping- jesus ' principle; though here and there one 
like Crum — who was an honourable — stood starkly languid 
for that gambler's Nirvana which had been the sumnium 
bonum of the old ' dandies ' and of ' the mashers ' in the 
eighties. And round Crum were still gathered a forlorn hope 
of blue-bloods with a plutocratic following. 

But there was between the cousins another far less obvious 
antipathy — coming from the unseizable family resemblance, 
which each perhaps resented; or from some half-conscious- 
ness of that old feud persisting still between their branches 
of the clan, formed within them by odd words or half-hints 
dropped by their elders. And Jolly, tinkling his teaspoon, 
was musing: ' His tie-pin and his waistcoat and his drawl 
and his betting — good Lord !' 

And Val, finishing his bun, was thinking: ' He's rather 
a young beast !' 


" I suppose you'll be meeting your people ?" he said, 
getting up. " I wish you'd tell them I should like to show 
them over B.N.C. — not that there's anything much there — 
if they'd care to come." 

" Thanks, I'll ask them." 

" Would they lunch ? I've got rather a decent scout." 

Jolly doubted if they would have time. 

" You'll ask them, though ?" 

" Very good of you," said Jolly, fully meaning that they 
should not go; but, instinctively polite, he added: " You'd 
better come and have dinner with us to-morrow." 

" Rather. What time ?" 

" Seven-thirty." 

" Dress f" 

" No." And they parted, a subtle antagonism alive 
within them. 

Holly and her father arrived by a midday train. It was 
her first visit to the city of spires and dreams, and she was 
very silent, looking almost shyly at the brother who was part 
of this wonderful place. After lunch she wandered, exam- 
ining his household gods with intense curiosity. Jolly's 
sitting-room was panelled, and Art represented by a set of 
Bartolozzi prints which had belonged to old Jolyon, and by 
college photographs — of young men, live young men, a 
little heroic, and to be compared with her memories of Val. 
Jolyon also scrutinised with care that evidence of his boy's 
character and tastes. 

Jolly was anxious that they should see him rowing, so 
they set forth to the river. Holly, between her brother and 
her father, felt elated when heads were turned and eyes 
rested on her. That they might see him to the best advan- 
tage they left him at the Barge and crossed the river to the 
towing-path. Slight in build — for of all the Forsytes only 
old Swithin and George were beefy — Jolly was rowing 'Two' 



in a trial eight. He looked very earnest and strenuous. 
With pride Jolyon thought him the best -looking boy of 
the lot; Holly, as became a sister, was more struck by one or 
two of the others, but would not have said so for the world. 
The river was bright that afternoon, the meadows lush, 
the trees still beautiful with colour. Distinguished peace 
clung around the old city; Jolyon promised himself a day's 
sketching if the weather held. The Eight passed a second 
time, spurting home along the Barges — Jolly's face was very 
set, so as not to show that he was blown. They returned 
across the river and waited for him. 

" Oh !" said Jolly in the Christ Church meadows, 
" I had to ask that chap Val Dartie to dine with us to-night. 
He wanted to give you lunch and show you B.N.C., so I 
thought I'd better; then you needn't go. I don't like him 

Holly's rather sallow face had become suffused with pink. 

" Why not f" 

" Oh ! I don't know. He seems to me rather showy 
and bad form. What are his people like. Dad ? He's 
only a second cousin, isn't he ?" 

Jolyon took refuge in a smile. 

" Ask Holly," he said; " she saw his uncle." 

" I liked Val," Holly answered, staring at the ground 
before her; " his uncle looked — awfully different." She 
stole a glance at Jolly from under her lashes. 

" Did you ever," said Jolyon with whimsical intention, 
" hear our family history, my dears ? It's quite a fairy 
tale. The first Jolyon Forsyte — at all events the first we 
know anything of, and that would be your great-great- 
grandfather — dwelt in the land of Dorset on the edge of the 
sea. being by profession an ' agriculturalist,' as your great- 
aunt put it, and the son of an agriculturist — farmers, in fact; 
your grandfather used to call them, ' Very small beer.' " 


He looked at Jolly to see how his lordliness was standing it, 
and with the other eye noted Holly's malicious pleasure 
in the slight drop of her brother's face. 

" We may suppose him thick and sturdy, standing for 
England as it was before the Industrial Era began. The 
second Jolyon Forsyte — your great-grandfather, Jolly; 
better known as Superior Dosset Forsyte — built houses, 
so the chronicle runs, begat ten children, and migrated to 
London town. It is known that he drank sherry. We may 
suppose him representing the England of Napoleon's wars, 
and general unrest. The eldest of his six sons was the 
third Jolyon, your grandfather, my dears — tea merchant 
and chairman of companies, one of the soundest Englishmen 
who ever lived — and to me the dearest." Jolyon's voice had 
lost its irony, and his son and daughter gazed at him solemnly. 
"He was just and tenacious, tender and young at heart. You 
remember him, and I remember him. Pass to the others ! 
Your great-uncle James, that's young Val's grandfather, had a 
son called Soames — whereby hangs a tale of no love lost, and 
I don't think I'll tell it you. James and the other eight 
children of ' Superior Dosset,' of whom there are still five 
alive, may be said to have represented Victorian England, 
with its principles of trade and individualism at five per cent, 
and your money back — if you know what that means. At 
all events they've turned thirty thousand pounds into a 
cool million between them in the course of their long lives. 
They never did a wild thing — unless it was your great-uncle 
Swithin, who I believe was once swindled at thimble-rig, 
and wa? called ' Four-in-hand Forsyte ' because he drove a 
pair. Their day is passing, and their type, not altogether 
for the advantage of the country. They were pedestrian, 
but they too were sound. I am the fourth Jolyon Forsyte — 
a poor holder of the name " 

" No, Dad," said Jolly, and Holly squeezed his hand. 


" Yes," repeated Jolyon, " a poor specimen, representing, 
I'm afraid, nothing but the end of the century, unearned 
income, amateurism, and individual liberty — a different thing 
from individualism, Jolly. You are the fifth Jolyon Forsyte, 
old man, and you open the ball of the new century.'* 

As he spoke they turned in through the college gates, 
and Holly said: " It's fascinating, Dad." 

None of them quite knew what she meant. Jolly was 

The Rainbow, distinguished, as only an Oxford hostel 
can be, for lack of modernity, provided one small oak-panelled 
private sitting-room, in which Holly sat to receive, white- 
frocked, shy, and alone, when the only guest arrived. 

Rather as one would touch a moth, Val took her hand. 
And wouldn't she wear this ' measly flower ' ? It would look 
ripping in her hair. He removed a gardenia from his coat. 

" Oh ! No, thank you — I couldn't !" But she took it 
and pinned it at her neck, having suddenly remembered 
that word 'showy'! Val's buttonhole would give offence; 
and she so much wanted Jolly to like him. Did she realise 
that Val was at his best and quietest in her presence, and was 
that, perhaps, half the secret of his attraction for her ? 

" I never said anything about our ride, Val." 

" Rather not ! It's just between us." 

By the uneasiness of his hands and the fidgeting of his 
feet he was giving her a sense of power very delicious; a soft 
feeling too — the wish to make him happy. 

" Do tell me about Oxford. It must be ever so lovely." 

Val admitted that it was frightfully decent to do what you 
liked; the lectures were nothing; and there were some very 
good chaps. " Only," he added, " of course I wish I was 
in town, and could come down and see you." 

Holly moved one hand shyly on her knee, and her glance 


" You haven't forgotten," he said, suddenly gathering 
courage, " that we're going madrabbiting together ?" 

Holly smiled. 

" Oh ! That was only make-believe. One can't do 
that sort of thing after one's grown up, you know." 

" Dash it ! cousins can," said Val. " Next Long Vac — 
it begins in June, you know, and goes on for ever — we'll 
watch our chance." 

But, though the thrill of conspiracy ran through her 
veins. Holly shook her head. " It won't come off," she 

" Won't it !" said Val fervently; " who's going to stop it ? 
Not your father or your brother." 

At this moment Jolyon and Jolly came in; and romance 
fled into Val's patent leather and Holly's white satin toes, 
where it itched and tingled during an evening not con- 
spicuous for open-heartedness. 

Sensitive to atmosphere, Jolyon soon felt the latent 
antagonism between the boys, and was puzzled by Holly; 
so he became unconsciously ironical, which is fatal to the 
expansiveness of youth. A letter, handed to him after 
dinner, reduced him to a silence hardly broken till Jolly 
and Val rose to go. He went out with them, smoking his 
cigar, and walked with his son to the gates of Christ Church. 
Turning back, he took out the letter and read it again be- 
neath a lamp. 

" Dear Jolyon, 

" Soames came again to-night— my thirty-seventh 
birthday. You were right, I mustn't stay here. I'm 
going to-morrow to the Piedmont Hotel, but I won't go 
abroad without seeing you. I feel lonely and down-hearted. 

" Yours afiectionately, 

" Irene." 


He folded the letter back into his pocket and walked on, 
astonished at the violence of his feelings. What had the 
fellow said or done f 

He turned into High Street, down the Turl, and on 
among a maze of spires and domes and long college fronts 
and walls, bright or dark-shadowed in the strong moonlight. 
In this very heart of England's gentility it was difficult to 
realise that a lonely woman could be importuned or hunted, 
but what else could her letter mean ? Soames must have 
been pressing her to go back to him again, with public 
opinion and the Law on his side, too ! ' Eighteen-ninety- 
nine !' he thought, gazing at the broken glass shining on the 
top of a villa garden wall; * but when it comes to property 
we're still a heathen people ! I'll go up to-morrow morning. 
I dare say it'll be best for her to go abroad.' Yet the 
thought displeased him. Why should Soames hunt her out 
of England ! Besides, he might follow, and out there she 
would be still more helpless against the attentions of her 
own husband ! ' I must tread warily,' he thought; ' that 
fellow could make himself very nasty. I didn't like his 
manner in the cab the other night.' His thoughts turned 
to his daughter June. Could she help ? Once on a time 
Irene had been her greatest friend, and now she was a ' lame 
duck,' such as must appeal to June's nature ! He determined 
to wire to his daughter to meet him at Paddington Station. 
Retracing his steps towards the Rainbow he questioned 
his own sensations. Would he be upsetting himself over 
every woman in like case ? No ! he would not. The 
candour of this conclusion discomfited him; and, finding 
that Holly had gone up to bed, he sought his own room. 
But he could not sleep, and sat for a long time at his window, 
huddled in an overcoat, watching the moonlight on the 

Next door Holly too was awake, thinking of the lashes 


above and below Val's eyes, especially below; and of what 
she could do to make Jolly like him better. The scent of 
the gardenia was strong in her little bedroom, and pleasant 
to her. 

And Val, leaning out of his first-floor window in B.N.C., 
was gazing at a moonlit quadrangle without seeing it at all, 
seeing instead Holly, slim and white-frocked, as she sat 
beside the fire when he first went in. 

But Jolly, in his bedroom narrow as a ghost, lay with a 
hand beneath his cheek and dreamed he was with Val in 
one boat, rowing a race against him, while his father was 
calling from the towpath: 'Two! Get your hands away 
there, bless you !' 



Of all those radiant firms which emblazon with their windows 
the West End of London, Gaves and Cortegal were con- 
sidered by Soames the most ' attractive ' — word just coming 
into fashion. He had never had his Uncle Swithin's taste 
in precious stones, and the abandonment by Irene when she 
left his house in 1889 of all the glittering things he had given 
her had disgusted him with this form of investment. But 
he still knew a diamond when he saw one, and during the 
week before her birthday he had taken occasion, on his 
way into the Poultry or his way out therefrom, to dally a 
little before the greater jewellers where one got, if not one's 
money's worth, at least a certain cachet with the goods. 

Constant cogitation since his cab drive with Jolyon had 
convinced him more and more of the supreme importance 
of this moment in his life, the supreme need for taking steps 
and those not wrong. And, alongside the dry and reasoned 
sense that it was now or never with his self-preservation, 
now or never if he were to range himself and found a family, 
went the secret urge of his senses roused by the sight of her 
who had once been a passionately desired wife, and the 
conviction that it was a sin against common sense and the 
decent secrecy of Forsytes' to waste the wife he had. 

In an opinion on Winifred's case. Dreamer, Q.C. — he 
would much have preferred Waterbuck, but they had made 
him a judge (so late in the day as to rouse the usual suspicion 
of a political job) — had advised that they should go forward 
and obtain restitution of conjugal rights, a point which to 



Soames had never been in doubt. When they had obtained 
a decree to that effect they must wait to see if it was obeyed. 
If not, it would constitute legal desertion, and they should 
obtain evidence of misconduct and file their petition for 
divorce. All of which Soames knew perfectly well. They 
had marked him ten and one. This simplicity in his 
sister's case only made him the more desperate about the 
difficulty in his own. Everything, in fact, was driving him 
towards the simple solution of Irene's return. If it were 
still against the grain with her, had he not feelings to subdue, 
injury to forgive, pain to forget ? He at least had never 
injured her, and this was a world of compromise ! He could 
offer her so much more than she had now. He would be 
prepared to make a liberal settlement on her which would 
not be upset. He often scrutinised his image in these days. 
He had never been a peacock like that fellow Dartie, or 
fancied himself a woman's man, but he had a certain belief 
in his own appearance — not unjustly, for it was well-coupled 
and preserved, neat, healthy, pale, unblemished by drink 
or excess of any kind. The Forsyte jaw and the concen- 
tration of his face were, in his eyes, virtues. So far as he 
could tell there was no feature of him which need inspire 

Thoughts and yearnings, with which one lives daily, 
become natural, even if far-fetched in their inception. 
If he could only give tangible proof enough of his determina- 
tion to let bygones be bygones, and to do all in his power 
to please her, why should she not come back to him r 

He entered Gaves and Cortegal's therefore, on the 
morning of November the 9th, to buy a certain diamond 
brooch. " Four twenty-five and dirt cheap, sir, at the 
money. It's a lady's brooch." There was that in his mood 
which made him accept without demur. And he went on 
into the Poultry with the flat green morocco case in his 


breast pocket. Several times that day he opened it to look 
at the seven soft shining stones in their velvet oval nest, 

" If the lady doesn't like it, sir, happy to exchange it any 
time. But there's no fear of that." If only there were 
not ! He got through a vast amount of work, only soother 
of the nerves he knew. A cable came in while he was in the 
office with details from the agent in Buenos Aires, and the 
name and address of a stewardess who would be prepared 
to swear to what was necessary. It was a timely spur to 
Soames' intense and rooted distaste for the washing of 
dirty linen in public. And when he set forth by Under- 
ground to Victoria Station he received a fresh impetus 
towards the renewal of his married life from the account 
in his evening paper of a fashionable divorce suit. The 
homing instinct of all true Forsytes in anxiety and trouble, 
the corporate tendency which kept them strong and solid, 
made him choose to dine at Park Lane. He neither could 
nor would breathe a word to his people of his intention — -too 
reticent and proud — but the thought that at least they would 
be glad if they knew, and wish him luck, was heartening, 

James was in lugubrious mood, for the fire which the 
impudence of Kruger's ultimatum had lit in him had been 
cold-watered by the poor success of the last month, and the 
exhortations to effort in The Times. He didn't know 
where it would end. Soames sought to cheer him by the 
continual use of the word Buller. But James couldn't tell ! 
There was Colley — and he got stuck on that hill, and this 
Ladysmith was down in a hollow, and altogether it looked 
to him a * pretty kettle of fish ' ; he thought they ought to be 
sending the sailors — they were the chaps, they did a lot of 
good in the Crimea. Soames shifted the ground of conso- 
lation. Winifred had heard from Val that there had been a 
* rag ' and a bonfire on Guy Fawkes Day at Oxford, and that 
he had escaped detection by blacking his face. 


" Ah !" James muttered, " he's a clever little chap." 
But he shook his head shortly afterwards, and remarked 
that he didn't know what would become of him, and looking 
wistfully at his son, murmured on that Soames had never 
had a boy. He would have liked a grandson of his own name. 
And now — well, there it was ! 

Soames flinched. He had not expected such a challenge 
to disclose the secret in his heart. And Emily, who saw 
him wince, said: 

" Nonsense, James; don't talk like that !" 

But James, not looking anyone in the face, muttered on. 
There were Roger and Nicholas and Jolyon; they all had 
grandsons. And Swithin and Timothy had never married. 
He had done his best; but he would soon be gone now. 
And, as though he had uttered words of profound consola- 
tion, he was silent, eating brains with a fork and a piece of 
bread, and swallowing the bread. 

Soames excused himself directly after dinner. It was not 
really cold, but he put on his fur coat, which served to fortify 
him against the fits of nervous shivering he had been subject 
to all day. Subconsciously, he knew that he looked better 
thus than in an ordinary black overcoat. Then, feeling 
the morocco case flat against his heart, he sallied forth. 
He was no smoker, but he lit a cigarette, and smoked it 
gingerly as he walked along. He moved slowly down the 
Row towards Knightsbridge, timing himself to get to Chelsea 
at nine-fifteen. What did she do with herself evening after 
evening in that little hole ? How mysterious women were ! 
One lived alongside and knew nothing of them. What could 
she have seen in that fellow Bosinney to send her mad ? 
For there was madness after all in what she had done — 
crazy moonstruck madness, in which all sense of values 
had been lost, and her life and his life ruined ! And for a 
moment he was filled with a sort of exaltation, as 


though he were a man read of in a story who, possessed 
by the Christian spirit, would restore to her all the 
prizes of existence, forgiving and forgetting, and becom- 
ing the good fairy of her future. Under a tree opposite 
Knightsbridge Barracks, where the moonlight struck down 
clear and white, he took out once more the morocco 
case, and let the beams draw colour from those stones. 
Yes, they were of the first water ! But, at the hard- closing 
snap of the case, another cold shiver ran through his nerves; 
and he walked on faster, clenching his gloved hands in the 
pockets of his coat, almost hoping she would not be in. The 
thought of how mysterious she was again beset him. Dining 
alone there night after night — in an evening dress, too, as 
if she were making believe to be in society ! Playing the 
piano — to herself ! Not even a dog or cat, so far as he had 
seen. And that reminded him suddenly of the mare he 
kept for station work at Mapledurham. If ever he went 
to the stable, there she was quite alone, half asleep, and yet, 
on her home journeys going more freely than on her way 
out, as if longing to be back and lonely in her stable ! ' I 
would treat her well,' he thought incoherently. ' I would 
be very careful.' And all that capacity for home life of 
which a mocking Fate seemed for ever to have deprived him 
swelled suddenly in Soames, so that he dreamed dreams 
opposite South Kensington Station. In the King's Road 
a man came slithering out of a public house playing a 
concertina. Soames watched him for a moment dance 
crazily on the pavement to his own drawling jagged sounds, 
then crossed over to avoid contact with this piece of drunken 
foolery. A night in the lock-up ! What asses people were ! 
But the man had noticed his movement of avoidance, and 
streams of genial blasphemy followed him across the street. 
' I hope they'll run him in,' thought Soames viciously. 
* To have ruffians like that about, with women out alone !' 


A woman's figure in front had induced this thought. Her 
walk seemed oddly familiar, and when she turned the 
corner for which he was bound, his heart began to beat. 
He hastened on to the corner to make certain. Yes ! 
It was Irene; he could not mistake her walk in that little 
drab street. She threaded two more turnings, and from 
the last corner he saw her enter her block of flats. To make 
sure of her now, he ran those few paces, hurried up the stairs, 
and caught her standing at her door. He heard the latch- 
key in the lock, and reached her side just as she turned 
round, startled, in the open doorway. 

" Don't be alarmed," he said, breathless, " I happened to 
see you. Let me come in a minute." 

She had put her hand up to her breast, her face was 
colourless, her eyes widened by alarm. Then seeming to 
master herself, she inclined her head, and said: " Very well." 

Soaraes closed the door. He, too, had need to recover, 
and when she had passed into the sitting-room, waited a full 
minute, taking deep breaths to still the heating of his heart. 
At this moment, so fraught with the future, to take out that 
morocco case seemed crude. Yet, not to take it out left 
him there before her with no preliminary excuse for coming. 
And in this dilemma he was seized with impatience at all this 
paraphernalia of excuse and justification. This was a 
scene — it could be nothing else, and he must face it ! He 
heard her voice, uncomfortably, pathetically soft: 

" Why have you come again ? Didn't you understand 
that I would rather you did not ?" 

He noticed her clothes — a dark brown velvet corduroy, 
a sable boa, a small round toque of the same. They suited 
her admirably. She had money to spare for dress, evidently ! 
He said abruptly: 

" It's your birthday, I brought you this," and he held 
out to her the green morocco case. 


" Oh ! No— no !" 

Soames pressed the clasp; the seven stones gleamed out on 
the pale grey velvet. 

"Why not?" he said. "Just as a sign that you don't 
bear me ill-feeling any longer." 

" I couldn't." 

Soames took it out of the case. 

" Let me just see how it looks." 

She shrank back. 

He followed, thrusting his hand with the brooch in it 
against the front of her dress. She shrank again. 

Soames dropped his hand. 

" Irene," he said, " let bygones be bygones. If / can, 
surely you might. Let's begin again, as if nothing had been. 
Won't you ?" His voice was wistful, and his eyes, resting 
on her face, had in them a sort of supplication. 

She, who was standing literally with her back against the 
wall, gave a little gulp, and that was all her answer. Soames 
went on: 

" Can you really want to live all your days half- dead in 
this little hole ? Come back to me, and I'll give you all 
you want. You shall live your own life; I swear it." 

He saw her face quiver ironically. 

" Yes," he repeated, " but I mean it this time, I'll only 
ask one thing. I just want — I just want a son. Don't 
look like that ! I want one. It's hard," His voice had 
grown hurried, so that he hardly knew it for his own, and 
twice he jerked his head back as if struggling for breath. 
It was the sight of her eyes fixed on him, dark with a sort 
of fascinated fright, which pulled him together and changed 
that painful incoherence to anger. 

" Is it so very unnatural ?" he said between his teeth. 
" Is it unnatural to want a child from one's own wife ? You 
wrecked our life and put this blight on everything. We go 
on only half aUve, and without any future. Is it so very 


unflattering to you that in spite of everything I — I still 
want you for my wife ? Speak, for Goodness' sake ! do speak." 

Irene seemed to try, but did not succeed. 

" I don't want to frighten you," said Soames more gently, 
" Heaven knows. I only want you to see that I can't go on 
like this. I want you back. I want you." 

Irene raised one hand and covered the lower part of 
her face, but her eyes never moved from his, as though she 
trusted in them to keep him at bay. And all those years, 
barren and bitter, since — ah ! when ? — almost since he 
had first known her, surged up in one great wave of recol- 
lection in Soames; and a spasm that for his life he could 
not control constricted his face. 

"It's not too late," he said; "it's not — if you'll only 
believe it." 

Irene uncovered her lips, and both her hands made a 
writhing gesture in front of her breast. Soames seized them, 

" Don't !" she said under her breath. But he stood 
holding on to them, trying to stare into her eyes which 
did not waver. Then she said quietly: 

" I am alone here. You won't behave again as you 
once behaved." 

Dropping her hands as though they had been hot irons, 
he turned away. Was it possible that there could be such 
relentless unforgiveness ! Could that one act of violent 
possession be still alive within her ? Did it bar him thus 
utterly? And doggedly he said, without looking up: 

" I am not going till you've answered me. I am offering 
whit few men would bring themselves to offer, I want a — 
a reasonable answer." 

And almost with surprise he heard her say: 

" You can't have a reasonable answer. Reason has nothing 
to do with it. You can only have the brutal truth: I would 
rather die." 

Soames stared at her. 


" Oh !" he said. And there intervened in him a sort of 
paralysis of speech and movement, the kind of quivering 
which comes when a man has received a deadly insult, and 
does not yet know how he is going to take it, or rather what 
it is going to do with him. 

" Oh !" he said again, " as bad as that ? Indeed ! You 
would rather die. That's pretty !" 

" I am sorry. You wanted me to answer. I can't help 
the truth, can I ?" 

At that queer spiritual appeal Soames turned for relief 
to actuality. He snapped the brooch back into its case 
and put it in his pocket. 

"The truth!" he said; "there's no such thing with 
women. It's nerves — nerves." 

He heard the whisper: 

" Yes; nerves don't lie. Haven't you discovered that?" 
He was silent, obsessed by the thought: ' I will hate this 
woman. I will hate her.' That was the trouble ! If 
only he could ! He shot a glance at her who stood unmoving 
against the wall with her head up and her hands clasped, 
for all the world as if she were going to be shot. And he 
said quickly: 

" I don't believe a word of it. You have a lover. If 
you hadn't, you wouldn't be such a — such a little idiot." 
He was conscious, before the expression in her eyes, that he 
had uttered something of a non-sequitur, and dropped 
back too abruptly into the verbal freedom of his connubial 
days. He turned away to the door. But he could not go 
out. Something within him — that most deep and secret 
Forsyte quality, the impossibility of letting go, the im- 
possibility of seeing the fantastic and forlorn nature of his 
own tenacity — prevented him. He turned about again, 
and there stood, with his back against the door, as hers was 
against the wall opposite, quite unconscious of anything 
ridiculous in this separation by the whole width of the room. 


" Do you ever think of anybody but yourself ?" he said. 

Irene's lips quivered; then she answered slowly: 

" Do you ever think that I found out my mistake — 
my hopeless, terrible mistake — the very first week of our 
marriage; that I went on trying three years — you know 
I went on trying ? Was it for myself ?" 

Soames gritted his teeth. " God knows what it was. 
I've never understood you; I shall never understand you. 
You had everything you wanted; and you can have it again, 
and more. What's the matter with me ? I ask you a 
plain question: What is it?" Unconscious of the pathos 
in that enquiry, he went on passionately: " I'm not lame, 
I'm not loathsome, I'm not a boor, I'm not a fool. What 
is it ? What's the mystery about me f" 

Her answer was a long sigh. 

He clasped his hands with a gesture that for him was 
strangely full of expression. " When I came here to-night 
I was — I hoped — I meant everything that I could to do 
away with the past, and start fair again. And you meet me 
with ' nerves,' and silence, and sighs. There's nothing 
tangible. It's like — it's like a spider's web." 

" Yes." 

That whisper from across the room maddened Soames 

" Well, I don't choose to be in a spider's web. I'll cut it." 
He walked straight up to her. " Now !" What he had 
gone up to her to do he really did not know. But when he 
was close, the old familiar scent of her clothes suddenly 
affected him. He put his hands on her shoulders and bent 
forward to kiss her. He kissed not her lips, but a little hard 
line where the lips had been drawn in; then his face was 
pressed away by her hands; he heard her say: " Oh ! No !" 
Shame, compunction, sense of futility flooded his whole 
being, he turned on his heel and went straight out, 




JoLYON found June waiting on the platform at Paddington. 
She had received his telegram while at breakfast. Her 
abode — a studio and two bedrooms in a St. John's Wood 
garden — had been selected by her for the complete indepen- 
dence which it guaranteed. Unwatched by Mrs. Grundy, 
unhindered by permanent domestics, she could receive 
lame ducks at any hour of day or night, and not seldom had 
a duck without studio of its own made use of June's. She 
enjoyed her freedom, and possessed herself with a sort of 
virginal passion; the warmth which she would have lavished 
on Bosinney, and of which — given her Forsyte tenacity — 
he must surely have tired, she now expended in championship 
of the underdogs and budding ' geniuses ' of the artistic 
world. She lived, in fact, to turn ducks into the swans she 
believed they were. The very fervour of her protections 
warped her judgments. But she was loyal and liberal; 
her small eager hand was ever against the oppressions of 
academic and commercial opinion, and though her income 
was considerable, her bank balance was often a minus 

She had come to Paddington Station heated in her soul 
by a visit to Eric Cobbley. A miserable Gallery had refused 
to let that straight-haired genius have his one-man show 
after all. Its impudent manager, after visiting his studio, 
had expressed the opinion that it would only be a * one-horse 
show from the selling point of view.' This crowning 

example of commercial cowardice towards her favourite 



lame duck — and he so hard up, with a wife and two children, 
that he had caused her account to be overdrawn — was still 
making the blood glow in her small, resolute face, and her 
red-gold hair to shine more than ever. She gave her father 
a hug, and got into a cab with him, having as many fish to 
fry with him as he with her. It became at once a question 
which would fry them first. 

Jolyon had reached the words: " My dear, I want you to 
come with me," when, glancing at her face, he perceived 
by her blue eyes moving from side to side — like the tail of 
a preoccupied cat — that she was not attending. 

" Dad, is it true that I absolutely can't get at any of my 
money ?" 

" Only the income, fortunately, my love." 

" How perfectly beastly ! Can't it be done somehow ? 
There must be a way. I know I could buy a small Gallery 
for ten thousand pounds." 

" A small Gallery," murmured Jolyon, " seems a modest 
desire. But your grandfather foresaw it." 

" I think," cried June vigorously, " that all this care about 
money is awful, when there's so much genius in the world 
simply crushed out for want of a little. I shall never marry 
and have children; why shouldn't I be able to do some good 
instead of having it all tied up in case of things which will 
never come off ?" 

" Our name is Forsyte, my dear," replied Jolyon in the 
ironical voice to which his impetuous daughter had never 
quite grown accustomed; " and Forsytes, you know, are 
people who so settle their property that their grandchildren, 
in case they should die before their parents, have to make 
wills leaving the property that will only come to themselves 
when their parents die. Do you follow that ? Nor do I, but 
it's a fact, anyway; we live by the principle that so long as 
there is a possibility of keeping wealth in the family it must 


not go out; if you die unmarried, your money goes to Jolly 
and Holly and their children if they marry. Isn't it pleasant to 
know that whatever you do you can none of you be destitute ?" 

" But can't I borrow the money ?" 

Jolyon shook his head. " Without power of anticipation. 
You could rent a Gallery, no doubt, if you could manage it 
out of your income." 

June uttered a contemptuous sound. 

" Yes; and have no income left to help anybody with." 

" My dear child," murmured Jolyon, " wouldn't it come 
to the same thing ?" 

" No," said June shrewdly, " I could buy for ten thousand; 
that would only be four hundred a year. But I should 
have to pay a thousand a year rent, and that would only 
leave me five hundred. If I had that Gallery, Dad, think 
what I could do. I could make Eric Cobbley's name in no 
time, and ever so many others." 

" Names worth making make themselves in time." 

" When they're dead." 

" Did you ever know anybody living, my dear, improved 
by having his name made ?" 

" Yes, you," said June, pressing his arm. 

Jolyon started. ' I ?' he thought. ' Oh ! Ah ! Now 
she's going to ask me to do something. We take it out, we 
Forsytes, each in our different ways.' 

June came closer to him in the cab. 

" Darling," she said, " you buy the Gallery, and I'll pay 
you four hundred a year for it. Then neither of us will 
be any the worse ofii. Besides, it's a splendid investment." 

Jolyon wriggled. " Don't you think," he said, " that 
for an artist to buy a Gallery is a bit dubious ? Besides, 
ten thousand pounds is a lump, and I'm not a commercial 

June looked at him with admiring appraisement. 


" Of course you're not, but you're awfully businesslike. 
And I'm sure we could make it pay. It'll be a perfect way 
of scoring off those wretched dealers and people." And 
again she squeezed her father's arm. 

Jolyon's face expressed quizzical despair. 

" Where is this desirable Gallery ? Splendidly situated, 
I suppose ?" 

" Just off Cork Street." 

' Ah !' thought Jolyon, ' I knew it was just off somewhere. 
Now for what I want out of her P 

" Well, I'll think of it, but not just now. You remember, 
Irene ? I want you to come with me and see her. Soames 
is after her again. She might be safer if we could give her 
asylum somewhere." 

The word asylum, which he had used by chance, was of 
all most calculated to rouse June's interest. 

" Irene ! I haven't seen her since ! Of course ! 

I'd love to help her." 

It was Jolyon's turn to squeeze her arm, in warm admira- 
tion for this spirited, generous-hearted little creature of his 

" Irene is proud," he said, with a sidelong glance, in 
sudden doubt of June's discretion; " she's difficult to help. 
We must tread gently. This is the place. I wired her to 
expect us. Let's send up our cards." 

"I can't bear Soames," said June as she got out; "he 
sneers at everything that isn't successful." 

Irene was in what was called the ' Ladies' drawing-room ' 
of the Piedmont Hotel, 

Nothing if not morally courageous, June walked straight 
up to her former friend, kissed her cheek, and the two 
settled down on a sofa never sat on since the hotel's founda- 
tion. Jolyon could see that Irene was deeply affected by this 
simple forgiveness. 


" So Soames has been worrying you ?" he said. 

" I had a visit from him last night; he wants me to go back 
to him." 

" You're not, of course ?" cried June. 

Irene smiled faintly and shook her head. " But his 
position is horrible," she murmured. 

" It's his own fault j he ought to have divorced you when 
he could." 

Jolyon remembered how fervently in the old days June 
had hoped that no divorce would smirch her dead and 
faithless lover's name. 

" Let us hear what Irene is going to do," he said. 

Irene's lips quivered, but she spoke calmly. 

" I'd better give him fresh excuse to get rid of me." 

" How horrible !" cried June. 

" What else can I do ?" 

" Out of the question," said Jolyon very quietly, " sans 

He thought she was going to cry; but, getting up quickly, 
she half turned her back on them, and stood regaining 
control of herself. 

June said suddenly: 

" Well, I shall go to Soames and tell him he must leave 
you alone. What does he want at his age ?" 

*' A child. It's not unnatural." 

" A child !" cried June scornfully. " Of course ! To 
leave his money to. If he wants one badly enough let him 
take somebody and have one; then you can divorce him, and 
he can marry her." 

Jolyon perceived suddenly that he had made a mistake 
to bring June — her violent partizanship was fighting 
Soames' battle. 

" It would be best for Irene to come quietly to us at 
Robin Hill, and see how things shape." 

" Of course," said June; " only " 


Irene looked full at Jolyon — in all his many attempts 
afterwards to analyze that glance he never could succeed. 

" No ! I should only bring trouble on you all. I will 
go abroad." 

He knew from her voice that this was final. The irrelevant 
thought flashed through him: ' Well, I could see her there.' 
But he said: 

" Don't you think you would be more helpless abroad, 
in case he followed ?" 

" I don't know. I can but try." 

June sprang up and paced the room. " It's all horrible," 
she said. " Why should people be tortured and kept 
miserable and helpless year after year by this disgusting sancti- 
monious law f" But someone had come into the room, and 
June came to a standstill. Jolyon went up to Irene: 

" Do you want money ?" 

" No." 

" And would you like me to let your flat ?" 

" Yes, Jolyon, please." 

" When shall you be going ?" 

" To-morrow." 

" You won't go back there in the meantime, will you ?" 
This he said with an anxiety strange to himself. 

" No; I've got all I want here." 

" You'll send me your address ?" 

She put out her hand to him. *' I feel you're a rock." 

" Built on sand," answered Jolyon, pressing her hand 
hard; " but it's a pleasure to do anything, at any time, 

remember that. And if you change your mind ! 

Come along, June; say good-bye." 

June came from the window and flung her arms round 

" Don't think of him," she said under her breath; " enjoy 
yourself, and bless you !" 

With a memory of tears in Irene's eyes, and of a smile on 


her lips, they went away extremely silent, passing the lady 
who had interrupted the interview and was turning over the 
papers on the table. 

Opposite the National Gallery June exclaimed: 
" Of all undignified beasts and horrible laws !" 
But Jolyon did not respond. He had something of his 
father's balance, and could see things impartially even when 
his emotions were roused. Irene was right; Soames' 
position was as bad or worse than her own. As for the law 
— it catered for a human nature of which it took a naturally 
low view. And, feeling that if he stayed in his daughter's 
company he would in one way or another commit an 
indiscretion, he told her he must catch his train back 
to Oxford; and hailing a cab, left her to Turner's water- 
colours, with the promise that he would think over that 

But he thought over Irene instead. Pity, they said, 
was akin to love ! If so he was certainly in danger of loving 
her, for he pitied her profoundly. To think of her drifting 
about Europe so handicapped and lonely ! ' I hope to 
goodness she'll keep her head!' he thought; 'she might 
easily grow desperate.' In fact, now that she had cut loose 
from her poor threads of occupation, he couldn't imagine 
how she would go on — so beautiful a creature, hopeless, 
and fair game for anyone ! In his exasperation was more 
than a little fear and jealousy. Women did strange things 
when they were driven into corners. ' I wonder what 
Soames will do now !' he thought. ' A rotten, idiotic state 
of things ! And I suppose they would say it was her own 
fault.' Very preoccupied and sore at heart, he got into his 
train, mislaid his ticket, and on the platform at Oxford 
took his hat off to a lady whose face he seemed to remember 
without being able to put a name to her, not even when he 
saw her having tea at the Rainbow, 



Quivering from the defeat of his hopes, with the green 
morocco case still flat against his heart, Soames revolved 
thoughts bitter as death. A spider's web ! Walking fast, 
and noting nothing in the moonlight, he brooded over the 
scene he had been through, over the memory of her figure 
rigid in his grasp. And the more he brooded, the more 
certain he became that she had a lover — her words, ' I 
would sooner die !' were ridiculous if she had not. Even 
if she had never loved him, she had made no fuss until 
Bosinney came on the scene. No; she was in love again, 
or she would not have made that melodramatic answer to 
his proposal, which in all the circumstances was reasonable ! 
Very well ! That simplified matters. 

* I'll take steps to know where I am,' he thought; ' I'll 
go to Polteed's the first thing to-morrow morning.' 

But even in forming that resolution he knew he would have 
trouble with himself. He had employed Polteed's agency 
several times in the routine of his profession, even quite 
lately over Dartie's case, but he had never thought it 
possible to employ them to watch his own wife. 

It was too insulting to himself ! 

He slept over that project and his wounded pride — or 
rather, kept vigil. Only while shaving did he suddenly 
remember that she called herself by her maiden name of 
Heron. Polteed would not know, at first at all events, 
whose wife she was, would not look at him obsequiously 
and leer behind his back. She would just be the wife of 



one of his clients. And that would be true — for was he 
not his own solicitor ? 

He was literally afraid not to put his design into execution 
at the first possible moment, lest, after all, he might fail 
himself. And making Warmson bring him an early cup 
of coffee, he stole out of the house before the hour of break- 
fast. He walked rapidly to one of those small West End 
streets where Polteed's and other firms ministered to the 
virtues of the wealthier classes. Hitherto he had always 
had Polteed to see him in the Poultry; but he well knew their 
address, and reached it at the opening hour. In the outer 
office, a room furnished so cosily that it might have been a 
moneylender's, he was attended by a lady who might have 
been a schoolmistress. 

" I wish to see Mr. Claud Polteed. He knows me — 
never mind my name." 

To keep everybody from knowing that he, Soames Forsyte, 
was reduced to having his wife spied on, was the overpower- 
ing consideration. 

Mr. Claud Polteed — so different from Mr. Lewis Polteed 
— was one of those men with dark hair, slightly curved noses, 
and quick brown eyes, who might be taken for Jews but are 
really Phoenicians; he received Soames in a room hushed by 
thickness of carpet and curtains. It was, in fact, confidentially 
furnished, without trace of document anywhere to be seen. 

Greeting Soames deferentially, he turned the key in the 
only door with a certain ostentation. 

' If a chent sends for me,' he was in the habit of saying, 
' he takes what precaution he likes. If he comes here, we 
convince him that we have no leakages. I may safely say 
we lead in security, if in nothing else. . . .' " Now, sir, 
what can I do for you ?" 

Soames' gorge had risen so that he could hardly speak. 
It was absolutely necessary to hide from this man that he 


had any but professional interest in the matter; and, 
mechanically, his face assumed its sideway smile. 

" I've come to you early like this because there's not an 
hour to lose " — if he lost an hour he might fail himself yet ! 
" Have you a really trustworthy woman free ?" 

Mr. Polteed unlocked a drawer, produced a memorandum, 
ran his eyes over it, and locked the drawer up again. 

" Yes," he said; " the very woman." 

Soames had seated himself and crossed his legs — nothing 
but a faint flush, which might have been his normal com- 
plexion, betrayed him. 

" Send her off at once, then, to watch a Mrs. Irene Heron 
of Flat D, Truro Mansions, Chelsea, till further notice." 

"Precisely," said Mr. Polteed; "divorce, I presume?" 
and he blew into a speaking-tube. " Mrs. Blanch in ? 
I shall want to speak to her in ten minutes." 

*' Deal with any reports yourself," resumed Soames, " and 
send them to me personally, marked confidential, sealed and 
registered. My client exacts the utmost secrecy." 

Mr. Polteed smiled, as though saying, ' You are teaching 
your grandmother, my dear sir'; and his eyes slid over 
Soames' face for one unprofessional instant. 

" Make his mind perfectly easy," he said. " Do you 
smoke ?" 

"No," said Soames. "Understand me: Nothing may 
come of this. If a name gets out, or the watching is suspected, 
it may have very serious consequences." 

Mr. Polteed nodded. " I can put it into the cipher 
category. Under that system a name is never mentioned; 
we work by numbers." 

He unlocked another drawer and took out two slips of 
paper, wrote on them, and handed one to Soames. 

" Keep that, sir; it's your key. I retain this duplicate. 
The case we'll call Jx. The party watched will be 17; the 


watcher 19; the Mansions 25; yourself — I should say, your 
firm — 31; my firm 32, myself 2. In case you should have 
to mention your client in writing I have called him 43; any 
person we suspect will be 47; a second person 51. Any 
special hint or instruction while we're about it ?" 

" No," said Soames; " that is — every consideration com- 

Again Mr. Polteed nodded. " Expense ?" 

Soames shrugged. " In reason," he answered curtly, 
and got up. " Keep it entirely in your own hands." 

" Entirely," said Mr. Polteed, appearing suddenly between 
him and the door. " I shall be seeing you in that other 
case before long. Good-morning, sir." His eyes slid 
unprofessionally over Soames once more, and he unlocked 
the door. 

" Good-morning," said Soames, looking neither to right 
nor left. 

Out in the street he swore deeply, quietly, to himself. 
A spider's web, and to cut it he must use this spidery, secret, 
unclean method, so utterly repugnant to one who regarded 
his private life as his most sacred piece of property. But 
the die was cast, he could not go back. And he went on 
into the Poultry, and locked away the green morocco case 
and the key to that cypher destined to make crystal-clear 
his domestic bankruptcy. 

Odd that one whose life was spent in bringing to the 
public eye all the private coils of property, the domestic 
disagreements of others, should dread so utterly the public 
eye turned on his own; and yet not odd, for who should 
know so well as he the whole unfeeling process of legal 
regulation ? 

He worked hard all day. Winifred was due at four 
o'clock; he was to take her down to a conference in the 
Temple with Dreamer Q.C., and waiting for her he re-read 


the letter he had caused her to write the day of Dartie's 
departure, requiring him to return. 

" Dear Montagu, 

" I have received your letter with the news that 
you have left me for ever and are on your way to Buenos 
Aires. It has naturally been a great shock. I am taking 
this earliest opportunity of writing to tell you that I am 
prepared to let bygones be bygones if you will return to 
me at once. I beg you to do so. I am very much upset, 
and will not say any more now. I am sending this letter 
registered to the address you left at your Club. Please 
cable to me. 

" Your still affectionate wife, 

" Winifred Dartie." 

Ugh ! What bitter humbug ! He remembered leaning 
over Winifred while she copied what he had pencilled, 
and how she had said, laying down her pen, " Suppose he 
comes, Soames !" in such a strange tone of voice, as if she 
did not know her own mind. " He won't come," he had 
answered, " till he's spent his money. That's why we must 
act at once." Annexed to the copy of that letter was the 
original of Dartie's drunken scrawl from the Iseeum Club. 
Soames could have wished it had not been so manifestly 
penned in liquor. Just the sort of thing the Court would 
pitch on. He seemed to hear the Judge's voice say: " You 
took this seriously ! Seriously enough to write him as you 
did ? Do you think he meant it ?" Never mind ! The 
fact was clear that Dartie had sailed and had not returned. 
Annexed also was his cabled answer: ' Impossible return. 
Dartie.' Soames shook his head. If the whole thing were 
not disposed of within the next few months the fellow 
would turn up again like a bad penny. It saved a thousand 
a year at least to get rid of him, besides all the worry to 


Winifred and his father. ' I must stiffen Dreamer's back,' 
he thought; ' we must push it on.' 

Winifred, who had adopted a kind of half-mourning which 
became her fair hair and tall figure very well, arrived in 
James' barouche drawn by James' pair. Soamcs had not 
seen it in the City since his father retired from business five 
years ago, and its incongruity gave him a shock. ' Times 
are changing,' he thought ; ' one doesn't know what'll go 
next !' Top hats even were scarcer. He enquired after 
Val. Val, said Winifred, wrote that he was going to play 
polo next term. She thought he was in a very good set. 
She added with fashionably disguised anxiety: " Will there 
be much publicity about my affair, Soames ? Must it be 
in the papers ? It's so bad for him, and the girls." 

With his own calamity all raw within him, Soames 

" The papers are a pushing lot; it's very difficult to keep 
things out. They pretend to be guarding the public's 
morals, and they corrupt them with their beastly reports. 
But we haven't got to that yet. We're only seeing Dreamer 
to-day on the restitution question. Of course he under- 
stands that it's to lead to a divorce; but you must seem 
genuinely anxious to get Dartie back — you might practice 
that attitude to-day." 

Winifred sighed. 

" Oh ! What a clown Monty's been !" she said. 

Soames gave her a sharp look. It was clear to him that 
she could not take her Dartie seriously, and would go back 
on the whole thing if given half a chance. His own instinct 
had been firm in this matter from the first. To save a little 
scandal now would only bring on his sister and her children 
real disgrace and perhaps ruin later on if Dartie were 
allowed to hang on to them, going down-hill and spending 
the money James would leave his daughter. Though it 


zvas all tied up, that fellow would milk the settlements 
somehow, and make his family pay through the nose to keep 
him out of bankruptcy or even perhaps gaol ! They left 
the shining carriage, with the shining horses and the shining- 
hatted servants on the Embankment, and walked up to 
Dreamer Q.C.'s Chambers in Crown Office Row. 

" Mr. Bellby is here, sir," said the clerk; " Mr. Dreamer 
will be ten minutes." 

Mr. Bellby, the junior — not as junior as he might have 
been, for Soames only employed barristers of established 
reputation; it was, indeed, something of a mystery to him 
how barristers ever managed to establish that which made 
him employ them — Mr. Bellby was seated, taking a final 
glance through his papers. He had come from Court, and 
was in wig and gown, which suited a nose jutting out like 
the handle of a tiny pump, his small shrewd blue eyes, and 
rather protruding lower lip — no better man to supplement 
and stiffen Dreamer. 

The introduction to Winifred accomplished, they leaped 
the weather and spoke of the war. Soames interjected 

" If he doesn't comply we can't bring proceedings for six 
months. I want to get on with the matter, Bellby." 

Mr. Bellby, who had the ghost of an Irish brogue, smiled 
at Winifred and murmured: "The Law's delays, Mrs. 

" Six months !" repeated Soames ; " it'll drive it up to 
June ! We shan't get the suit on till after the long vacation. 
We must put the screw on, Bellby " — he would have all 
his work cut out to keep Winifred up to the scratch. 

" Mr. Dreamer will see you now, sir." 

They filed in, Mr. Bellby going first, and Soames escorting 
Winifred after an interval of one minute by his watch. 

Dreamer Q.C., in a gown but divested of wig, was standing 


before the fire, as if this conference were in the nature of a 
treat; he had the leather/, rather oily complexion which 
goes with great learning, a considerable nose with glasses 
perched on it, and little greyish whiskers; he luxuriated in the 
perpetual cocking of one eye, and the concealment of his 
lower with his upper lip, which gave a smothered turn to his 
speech. He had a way, too, of coming suddenly round the 
corner on the person he was talking to; this, with a dis- 
concerting tone of voice, and a habit of growling before he 
began to speak — had secured a reputation second in Probate 
and Divorce to very few. Having listened, eye cocked, to 
Mr. Bcllby's breezy recapitulation of the facts, he growled, 
and said: 

" I know all that ;" and coming round the corner at 
Winifred, smothered the words: 

" We want to get him back, don't we, Mrs. Dartie ?" 

Soames interposed sharply: 

" My sister's position, of course, is intolerable." 

Dreamer growled. " Exactly. Now, can we rely on the 
cabled refusal, or must we wait till after Christmas to give 
him a chance to have written — that's the point, isn't it ?" 

" The sooner " Soames began. 

" What do you say, Bellby ?" said Dreamer, coming round 
his corner. 

Mr. Bellby seemed to sniff the air like a hound. 

" We won't be on till the middle of December. We've 
no need to give um more rope than that." 

" No," said Soames, " why should my sister be incom- 
moded by his choosing to go " 

" To Jericho !" said Dreamer, again coming round his 
corner; "quite so. People oughtn't to go to Jericho, 
ought they, Mrs. Dartie?" And he raised his gown into 
a sort of fantail. " I agree. We can go forward. Is there 
anything more ?" 


" Nothing at present," said Soames meaningly; " I 
wanted you to see ray sister." 

Dreamer growled softly: "Delighted. Good-evening!" 
And let fall the protection of his gown. 

They filed out. Winifred went down the stairs. Soames 
lingered. In spite of himself he was impressed by Dreamer. 

" The evidence is all right, I think," he said to Bellby. 
" Between ourselves, if we don't get the thing through 
quick, we never may. D'you think he understands that ?" 

" I'll make um," said Bellby. " Good man though — 
good man." 

Soames nodded and hastened after his sister. He found 
her in a draught, biting her lips behind her veil, and at 
once said: 

" The evidence of the stewardess will be very complete." 

Winifred's face hardened; she drew herself up, and they 
walked to the carriage. And, all through that silent drive 
back to Green Street, the souls of both of them revolved 
a single thought : ' Why, oh ! why should I have to expose 
my misfortune to the public like this ? Why have to employ 
spies to peer into my private troubles ? They were not 
of my making.' 




The possessive instinct, which, so determinedly balked, 
was animating two members of the Forsyte family towards 
riddance of what they could no longer possess, was hardening 
daily in the British body politic. Nicholas, originally so 
doubtful concerning a war which must affect property, 
had been heard to say that these Boers were a pig-headed 
lot; they were causing a lot of expense, and the sooner they 
had their lesson the better. He would send out Wolseley ! 
Seeing always a little further than other people — whence 
the most considerable fortune of all the Forsytes — he had 
perceived already that Buller was not the man — ' a bull of 
a chap, who just went butting, and if they didn't look out 
Ladysmith would fall.' This was early in December, so 
that when Black Week came, he was enabled to say to every- 
body: ' I told you so,' During that week of gloom such 
as no Forsyte could remember, very young Nicholas attended 
so many drills in his corps, ' The Devil's Own,' that young 
Nicholas consulted the family physician about his son's 
health and was alarmed to find that he was perfectly sound. 
The boy had only just eaten his dinners and been called 
to the bar, at some expense, and it was in a way a nightmare 
to his father and mother that he should be playing with 
military efficiency at a time when military efficiency in the 
civilian population might conceivably be wanted. His 
grandfather, of course, pooh-poohed the notion, too thor- 
oughly educated in the feeling that no British war could 
be other than little and professional, and profoundly 



distrustful of Imperial commitments, by which, more- 
over, he stood to lose, for he owned De Beers, now going 
down fast, more than a sufficient sacrifice on the part of his 

At Oxford, however, rather different sentiments prevailed. 

The inherent effervescence of conglomerate youth had, 

during the two months of the term before Black Week, been 

gradually crystallising out into vivid oppositions. Normal 

adolescence, ever in England of a conservative tendency, 

though not taking things too seriously, was vehement for 

a fight to a finish and a good licking for the Boers. Of this 

larger faction Val Dartie was naturally a member. Radical 

youth, on the other hand, a small but perhaps more vocal 

body, was for stopping the war and giving the Boers 

autonomy. Until Black Week, however, the groups were 

amorphous, without sharp edges, and argument remained 

but academic. Jolly was one of those who knew not where 

he stood. A streak of his grandfather old Jolyon's love of 

justice prevented him from seeing one side only. Moreover, 

in his set of ' the best ' there was a ' jumping-jesus ' of 

extremely advanced opinions and some personal magnetism 

Jolly wavered. His father, too, seemed doubtful in his 

views. And though, as was proper at the age of twenty, 

he kept a sharp eye on his father, watchful for defects which 

might still be remedied, still that father had an ' air ' which 

gave a sort of glamour to his creed of ironic tolerance. 

Artists, of course, were notoriously Hamlet-like, and to this 

extent one must discount for one's father, even if one loved 

him. But Jolyon's original view, that to ' put your nose in 

where you aren't wanted ' (as the Uitlanders had done) 

' and then work the oracle till you get on top is not being 

quite the clean potatoe,' had, whether founded in fact or no, 

a certain attraction for his son, who thought a deal about 

gentility. On the other hand Jolly could not abide such 


as his set called ' cranks,' and Val's set called * smugs,' so 
that he was still balancing when the clock of Black Week 
struck. One — two — three, came those ominous repulses 
at Stormberg, Magersfontein, Colenso. The sturdy 
English soul reacting after the first cried, ' Ah ! but 
Methuen !' after the second: 'Ah! but BuUer !' then, 
in inspissated gloom, hardened. And Jolly said to himself: 
" No, damn it ! We've got to lick the beggars now; I 
don't care whether we're right or wrong." And, if he had 
known it, his father was thinking the same thought. 

That next Sunday, last of the term, Jolly was bidden to 
wine with ' one of the best.' After the second toast, 
' BuUer and damnation to the Boers,' drunk — no heel taps — 
in the college Burgundy, he noticed that Val Dartie, 
also a guest, was looking at him with a grin and saying 
something to his neighbour. He was sure it was disparaging. 
The last boy in the world to make himself conspicuous or 
cause public disturbance, Jolly grew rather red and shut his 
lips. The queer hostility he had always felt towards his 
second-cousin was strongly and suddenly reinforced. " All 
right !" he said to himself; " you wait, my friend !" More 
wine than was good for him, as the custom was, helped hira 
to remember, when they all trooped forth to a secluded spot, 
to touch Val on the arm. 

" What did you say about me in there ?" 

" Mayn't I say what I like ?" 

" No." 

" Well, I said you were a pro- Boer — and so you are 1" 

" You're a liar !" 

" D'you want a row ?" 

" Of course, but not here; in the garden." 

" All riofht. Come on." 

They went, eyeing each other askance, unsteady, and un- 
flinching; they climbed the garden railings. The spikes 


on the top slightly ripped Val's sleeve, and occupied his mind. 
JoUy's mind was occupied by the thought that they were 
going to fight in the precincts of a college foreign to them 
both. It was not the thing, but never mind — the young 
beast ! 

They passed over the grass into very nearly darkness, and 
took off their coats. 

"You're not screwed, are you?" said Jolly suddenly. 
" I can't fight you if you're screwed." 

" No more than you." 

" All right then." 

Without shaking hands, they put themselves at once into 
postures of defence. They had drunk too much for science, 
and so were especially careful to assume correct attitudes, 
until Jolly smote Val almost accidentally on the nose. 
After that it was all a dark and ugly scrimmage in the deep 
shadow of the old trees, with no one to call ' time,' till, 
battered and blown, they uncHnched and staggered back 
from each other, as a voice said : 

" Your names, young gentlemen f" 

At this bland query spoken from under the lamp at the 
garden gate, like some demand of a god, their nerves gave 
way, and snatching up their coats, they ran at the railings, 
shinned up them, and made for the secluded spot whence 
they had issued to the fight. Here, in dim light, they 
mopped their faces, and without a word walked, ten paces 
apart, to the college gate. They went out silently, Val 
going towards the Broad along the Brewery, Jolly down the 
lane towards the High. His head, still fumed, was busy 
with regret that he had not displayed more science, passing 
in review the counters and knock-out blows which he had 
not delivered. His mind strayed on to an imagined combat, 
infinitely unlike that which he had just been through, 
infinitely gallant, with sash and sword, with thrust and 


parry, as if he were in the pages of his beloved Dumas. He 
fancied himself La Mole, and Aramis, Bussy, Chicot, and 
D'Artagnan rolled into one, but he quite failed to envisage 
Val as Coconnas, Brissac, or Rochefort, The fellow was 
just a confounded cousin who didn't come up to Cocker. 
Never mind ! He had given him one or two. ' Pro-Boer !' 
The word still rankled, and thoughts of enlisting jostled his 
aching head; of riding over the veldt, firing gallantly, while 
the Boers rolled over like rabbits. And, turning up his 
smarting eyes, he saw the stars shining between the house- 
tops of the High, and himself lying out on the Karoo 
(whatever that was) rolled in a blanket, with his rifle ready 
and his gaze fixed on a gHttering heaven. 

He had a fearful ' head ' next morning, which he doctored, 
as became one of ' the best,' by soaking it in cold water, 
brewing strong coffee which he could not drink, and only 
sipping a little Hock at lunch. The legend that ' some 
fool ' had run into him round a corner accounted for a 
bruise on his cheek. He would on no account have 
mentioned the fight, for, on second thoughts, it fell far 
short of his standards. 

The next day he went ' down,' and travelled through to 
Robin Hill. Nobody was there but June and Holly, for 
his father had gone to Paris. He spent a restless and un- 
settled Vacation, quite out of touch with either of his sisters. 
June, indeed, was occupied with lame ducks, whom, as a 
rule, Jolly could not stand, especially that Eric Cobbley 
and his family, ' hopeless outsiders,' who were always littering 
up the house in the Vacation. And between Holly and 
himself there was a strange division, as if she were beginning 
to have opinions of her own, which was so — unnecessary. 
He punched viciously at a ball, rode furiously but alone in 
Richmond Park, making a point of jumping the stiff, high 
hurdles put up to close certain worn avenues of grass — 


keeping his nerve in, he called it. Jolly was more afraid of 
being afraid than most boys are. He bought a rifle, too, 
and put a range up in the home field, shooting across the 
pond into the kitchen-garden wall, to the peril of gardeners, 
with the thought that some day, perhaps, he would enlist and 
save South Africa for his country. In fact, now that they 
were appealing for Yeomanry recruits the boy was thoroughly 
upset. Ought he to go ? None of ' the best,' so far as he 
knew — and he was in correspondence with several — were 
thinking of joining. If they had been making a move he 
would have gone at once — very competitive, and with a 
strong sense of form, he could not bear to be left behind in 
anything — but to do it off his own bat might look like 
'swagger'; because of course it wasn't really necessary. 
Besides, he did not want to go, for the other side of this 
young Forsyte recoiled from leaping before he looked. It 
was altogether mixed pickles within him, hot and sickly 
pickles, and he became quite unlike his serene and rather 
lordly self. 

And then one day he saw that which moved him to uneasy 
wrath — two riders, in a glade of the Park close to the Ham 
Gate, of whom she on the left-hand was most assuredly 
Holly on her silverroan, and he on the right-hand as assuredly 
that ' squirt ' Val Dartie. His first impulse was to urge on 
his own horse and demand the meaning of this portent, 
tell the fellow to ' bunk,' and take Holly home. His second — 
to feel that he would look a fool if they refused. He reined 
his horse in behind a tree, then perceived that it was equally 
impossible to spy on them. Nothing for it but to go home 
and await her coming ! Sneaking out with that young 
bounder ! He could not consult with June, because she 
had gone up that morning in the train of Eric Cobbley and 
his lot. And his father was still in ' that rotten Paris.' 
He felt that this was emphatically one of those moments 


for which he had trained himself, assiduously, at school, 
where he and a boy called Brent had frequently set fire 
to newspapers and placed them in the centre of their studies 
to accustom them to coolness in moments of danger. He 
did not feel at all cool waiting in the stable-yard, idly strok- 
ing the dog Balthasar, who, queasy as an old fat monk, 
and sad in the absence of his master, turned up his face, 
panting with gratitude for this attention. It was half an 
hour before Holly came, flushed and ever so much prettier 
than she had any right to look. He saw her look at him 
quickly — guiltily of course — then foDowed her in, and, 
taking her arm, conducted her into what had been their 
grandfather's study. The room, not much used now, was 
still vaguely haunted for them both by a presence with which 
they associated tenderness, large drooping white moustaches, 
the scent of cigar smoke, and laughter. Here Jolly, in the 
prime of his youth, before he went to school at all, had been 
wont to wrestle with his grandfather, who even at eighty 
had an irresistible habit of crooking his leg. Here Holly, 
perched on the arm of the great leather chair, had stroked 
hair curving silvery over an ear into which she would whisper 
secrets. Through that window they had all three sallied 
times without number to cricket on the lawn, and a mys- 
terious game called ' Wopsy-doozle,' not to be understood 
by outsiders, which made old Jolyon very hot. Here once 
on a warm night Holly had appeared in her ' nighty,' 
having had a bad dream, to have the clutch of it released. 
And here Jolly, having begun the day badly by introducing 
fizzy magnesia into Mademoiselle Beauce's new-laid egg, 
and gone on to worse, had been sent down (in the absence 
of his father) to the ensuing dialogue: 

** Now, my boy, you mustn't go on like this." 
" Well, she boxed my ears. Gran, so I only boxed hers, and 
then she boxed mine again." 


" Strike a lady ? That'll never do ! Have you begged 
her pardon ?" 

" Not yet." 

" Then you must go and do it at once. Come along." 

" But she began it, Gran; and she had two to my one." 

" My dear, it was an outrageous thing to do." 

" Well, she lost her temper; and I didn't lose mine." 

" Come along." 

" You come too, then, Gran." 

" Well — this time only." 

And they had gone hand in hand. 

Here — where the Waverley novels and Byron's works and 
Gibbon's Roman Empire and Humboldt's Cosmos, and the 
bronzes on the mantelpiece, and that masterpiece of the 
oily school, 'Dutch Fishing- Boats at Sunset,' were fixed 
as fate, and for all sign of change old Jolyon might have been 
sitting there still, with legs crossed, in the armchair, and 
domed forehead and deep eyes grave above The Times — 
here they came, those two grandchildren. And Jolly 

" I saw you and that fellow in the Park." 

The sight of blood rushing into her cheeks gave him some 
satisfaction; she ought to be ashamed ! 

" WeU ?" she said. 

Jolly was surprised; he had expected more, or less. 

" Do you know," he said weightily, " that he called me 
a pro-Boer last term ? And I had to fight him." 

" Who won ?" 

Jolly wished to answer: ' I should have,' but it seemed 
beneath him. 

" Look here !" he said, " what's the meaning of it ? 
Without telling anybody !" 

" Why should I ? Dad isn't here; why shouldn't I ride 
with him f" 


" You've got me to ride with. I think he's an awful 
young rotter," 

Holly went pale with anger. 

" He isn't. It's your own fault for not liking him." 

And slipping past her brother she went out, leaving him 
staring at the bronze Venus sitting on a tortoise, which 
had been shielded from him so far by his sister's dark head 
under her soft felt riding hat. He felt queerly disturbed, 
shaken to his young foundations. A lifelong domination 
lay shattered round his feet. He went up to the Venus 
and mechanically inspected the tortoise. Why didn't he 
like Val Dartie ? He could not tell. Ignorant of family 
history, barely aware of that vague feud which had started 
thirteen years before with Bosinney's defection from June 
in favour of Soames' wife, knowing really almost nothing 
about Val, he was at sea. He just did dislike him. The 
question, however, was: What should he do? Val Dartie, 
it was true, was a second-cousin, but it was not the thing 
for Holly to go about with him. And yet to ' tell ' of what 
he had chanced on was against his creed. In this dilemma 
he went and sat in the old leather chair and crossed his legs. 
It grew dark while he sat there staring out through the long 
window at the old oak-tree, ample yet bare of leaves, be- 
coming slowly just a shape of deeper dark printed on the 

' Grandfather !' he thought without sequence, and took 
out his watch. He could not see the hands, but he set the 
repeater going. ' Five o'clock !' His grandfather's first 
gold hunter watch, butter-smooth with age — all the milling 
worn from it, and dented with the mark of many a fall. 
The chime was like a little voice from out of that golden age, 
when they first came from St. John's Wood, London, to 
this house — came driving with grandfather in his carriage, 
and almost instantly took to the trees. Trees to climb, 


and grandfather watering the geranium-beds below ! What 
was to be done ? Tell Dad he must come home ? Confide 
in June ? — only she was so — so sudden ! Do nothing and 
trust to luck ? After all, the Vac. would soon be over. 
Go up and see Val and warn him off ? But how get his 
address ? Holly wouldn't give it him ! A maze of paths, 
a cloud of possibilities ! He lit a cigarette. When he 
had smoked it halfway through his brow relaxed, almost as if 
some thin old hand had been passed gently over it; and in his 
ear something seemed to whisper: ' Do nothing; be nice 
to Holly, be nice to her, my dear !' And Jolly heaved a 
sigh of contentment, blowing smoke through his nostrils. . . . 
But up in her room, divested of her habit, Holly was still 
frowning. ' He is not — he is not P were the words which 
kept forming on her lips. 



A LITTLE private hotel over a well-known restaurant near the 
Gare St. Lazare was Jolyon's haunt in Paris. He hated his 
fellow Forsytes abroad — vapid as fish out of water in their 
well-trodden runs the Opera, Rue de Rivoli, and Moulin 
Rouge. Their air of having come because they wanted to 
be somewhere else as soon as possible annoyed him. But 
no other Forsyte came near this haunt, where he had a 
wood fire in his bedroom and the coffee was excellent. 
Paris was always to him more attractive in winter. The 
acrid savour from woodsmoke and chestnut-roasting braziers, 
the sharpness of the wintry sunshine on bright days, the 
open cafes defying keen-aired winter, the self-contained 
brisk boulevard crowds, all informed him that in winter Paris 
possessed a soul which, like a migrant bird, in high summer 
flew away. 

He spoke French well, had some friends, knew little places 
where pleasant dishes could be met with, queer types 
observed. He felt philosophic in Paris, the edge of irony 
sharpened; life took on a subtle, purposeless meaning, 
became a bunch of flavours tasted, a darkness shot with 
shifting gleams of light. 

When in the first week of December he decided to go to 
Paris, he was far from admitting that Irene's presence was 
influencing him. He had not been there two days before 
he owned that the wish to see her had been more than half 
the reason. In England one did not admit what was natural. 
He had thought it might be well to speak to her about the 



letting of her flat and other matters, but in Paris he at once 
knew better. There was a glamour over the city. On 
the third day he wrote to her, and received an answer which 
procured him a pleasurable shiver of the nerves: 

" My dear Jolyon, 

" It will be a happiness for me to see you. 

" Irene." 

He took his way to her hotel on a bright day with a feeling 
such as he had often had going to visit an adored picture. 
No woman, so far as he remembered, had ever inspired in 
him this special sensuous and yet impersonal sensation. He 
was going to sit and feast his eyes, and come away knowing 
her no better, but ready to go and feast his eyes again to- 
morrow. Such was his feeling, when in the tarnished and 
ornate little lounge of a quiet hotel near the river she came 
to him preceded by a small page-boy who uttered the word, 
" Madame,'' and vanished. Her face, her smile, the poise 
of her figure, were just as he had pictured, and the expres- 
sion of her face said plainly: ' A friend !' 

" Well," he said, " what news, poor exile ?" 

" None." 

" Nothing from Soames ?" 

" Nothing." 

" I have let the flat for you, and like a good steward I 
bring you some money. How do you like Paris ?" 

While he put her through this catechism, it seemed to 
him that he had never seen lips so fine and sensitive, the 
lower lip curving just a little upwards, the upper touched 
at one corner by the least conceivable dimple. It was like 
discovering a woman in what had hitherto been a sort of 
soft and breathed-on statue, almost impersonally admired. 
She owned that to be alone in Paris was a little difficult; 
and yet, Paris was so full of its own life that it was often, 


she confessed, as innocuous as a desert. Besides, the 
English were not liked just now ! 

" That will hardly be your case," said Jolyon ; " you 
should appeal to the French." 

" It has its disadvantages." 

Jolyon nodded. 

" Well, you must let me take you about while I'm 
here. We'll start to-morrow. Come and dine at my pet 
restaurant; and we'll go to the Opera-Comique." 

It was the beginning of daily meetings. 

Jolyon soon found that for those who desired a static condi- 
tion of the affections, Paris was at once the first and last place 
in which to be friendly with a pretty woman. Revelation was 
alighting like a bird in his heart, singing: ^ Elle est to7i reve ! 
Elle est ton reve P Sometimes this seemed natural, some- 
times ludicrous — a bad case of elderly rapture. Having 
once been ostracised by Society, he had never since had any 
real regard for conventional morality; but the idea of a love 
which she could never return — and how could she at his 
age ? — hardly mounted beyond his subconscious mind. He 
was full, too, of resentment, at the waste and loneliness of 
her life. Aware of being some comfort to her, and of the 
pleasure she clearly took in their many little outings, he was 
amiably desirous of doing and saying nothing to destroy 
that pleasure. It was like watching a starved plant draw 
up water, to see her drink-in his companionship. So far 
as they could tell, no one knew her address except himself; 
she was unknown in Paris, and he but little known, so that 
discretion seemed unnecessary in those walks, talks, visits 
to concerts, picture-galleries, theatres, little dinners, ex- 
peditions to Versailles, St. Cloud, even Fontainebleau. 
And time fled — one of those full months without past to it 
or future. What in his youth would certainly have been 
headlong passion, was now perhaps as deep a feeling, but far 


gentler, tempered to protective companionship by admira- 
tion, hopelessness, and a sense of chivalry — arrested in his 
veins at least so long as she was there, smiling and happy in 
their friendship, and always to him more beautiful and 
spiritually responsive: for her philosophy of life seemed to 
march in admirable step with his own, conditioned by 
emotion more than by reason, ironically mistrustful, sus- 
ceptible to beauty, almost passionately humane and tolerant, 
yet subject to instinctive rigidities of which as a mere man 
he was less capable. And during all this companionable 
month he never quite lost that feeling with which he had 
set out on the first day as if to visit an adored work of art, 
a wellnigh impersonal desire. The future — inexorable 
pendant to the present — he took care not to face, for fear 
of breaking up his untroubled manner; but he made plans 
to renew this time in places still more delightful, where 
the sun was hot and there were strange things to see and 
paint. The end came swiftly on the 20th of January with a 

" Have enlisted in Imperial Yeomanry. — Jolf-y." 

Jolyon received it just as he was setting out to meet her 
at the Louvre. It brought him up with a round turn. 
While he was lotus-eating here, his boy, whose philosopher 
and guide he ought to be, had taken this great step towards 
danger, hardship, perhaps even death. He felt disturbed 
to the soul, realising suddenly how Irene had twined herself 
round the roots of his being. Thus threatened with sever- 
ance, the tie between them — for it had become a kind of tie 
— no longer had impersonal quality. The tranquil enjoy- 
ment of things in common, Jolyon perceived, was gone for 
ever. He saw his feeling as it was, in the nature of an in- 
fatuation. Ridiculous, perhaps, but so real that sooner or 
later it must disclose itself. And now, as it seemed to him, 


he could not, must not, make any such disclosure. The news 
of Jolly stood inexorably in the way. He was proud of this 
enlistment; proud of his boy for going off to fight for the 
country; for on Jolyon's pro-Boerism,'too, Black Week had 
left its mark. And so the end was reached before the 
beginning ! Well, luckily he had never made a sign ! 

When he came into the Gallery she was standing before the 
' Virgin of the Rocks,' graceful, absorbed, smiling and un- 
conscious. ' Have I to give up seeing that P' he thought. 
' It's unnatural, so long as she's willing that I should see her.' 
He stood, unnoticed, watching her, storing up the image 
of her figure, envying the picture on which she was bending 
that long scrutiny. Twice she turned her head towards 
the entrance, and he thought: 'That's for me!' At last 
he went forward. 

" Look !" he said. 

She read the telegram, and he heard her sigh. 

That sigh, too, was for him ! His position was really 
cruel ! To be loyal to his son he must just shake her hand 
and go. To be loyal to the feeling in his heart he must at 
least tell her what that feeling was. Could she, would she 
understand the silence in which he was gazing at that picture ? 

" I'm afraid I must go home at once," he said at last. 
" I shall miss all this awfully." 

" So shall I; but, of course, you must go." 

" Well !" said Jolyon holding out his hand. 

Meeting her eyes, a flood of feeling nearly mastered him. 

" Such is life !" he said. " Take care of yourself, my 

He had a stumbling sensation in his legs and feet, as if his 
brain refused to steer him away from her. From the door- 
way, he saw her lift her hand and touch its fingers with her 
lips. He raised his hat solemnly, and did not look back 



The suit — Dartie versus Dartie — for restitution of those 
conjugal rights concerning which Winifred was at heart so 
deeply undecided, followed the laws of subtpction towards 
day of judgment. This was not reached before the Courts 
rose for Christmas, but the case was third on the list when 
they sat again. Winifred spent the Christmas holidays a 
thought more fashionably than usual, with the matter 
locked up in her low-cut bosom. James was particularly 
liberal to her that Christmas, expressing thereby his sym- 
pathy, and relief, at the approaching dissolution of her 
marriage with that ' precious rascal,' which his old heart 
felt but his old hps could not utter. 

The disappearance of Dartie made the fall in Consols a 
comparatively small matter; and as to the scandal — the 
real animus he felt against that fellow, and the increasing 
lead which property was attaining over reputation in a 
true Forsyte about to leave this world, served to drug a 
mind from which all allusions to the matter (except his 
own) were studiously kept. What worried him as a lawyer 
and a parent was the fear that Dartie might suddenly turn 
up and obey the Order of the Court when made. That 
would be a pretty how-de-do ! The fear preyed on him 
in fact so much that, in presenting Winifred with a large 
Christmas cheque, he said: " It's chiefly for that chap out 
there; to keep him from coming back." It was, of course, 
to pitch away good money, but all in the nature of insurance 
against that bankruptcy which would no longer hang over 

177 12 


him if only the divorce went through; and he questioned 
Winifred rigorously until she could assure him that the 
money had been sent. Poor woman ! — it cost her many a 
pang to send what must find its way into the vanity-bag of 
' that creature !' Soames, hearing of it, shook his head. 
They were not dealing with a Forsyte, reasonably tenacious 
of his purpose. It was very risky without knowing how the 
land lay out there. Still, it would look well with the Court; 
and he would see that Dreamer brought it out. " I wonder," 
he said suddenly, " where that ballet goes after the Argen- 
tine"; never omitting a chance of reminder; for he knew 
that Winifred still had a weakness, if not for Dartie, at least 
for not laundering him in public. Though not good at 
showing admiration, he admitted that she was behaving 
extremely well, with all her children at home gaping like 
young birds for news of their father — Imogen just on the 
point of coming out, and Val very restive about the whole 
thing. He felt that Val was the real heart of the matter 
to Winifred, who certainly loved him beyond her other 
children. The boy could spoke the wheel of this divorce 
yet if he set his mind to it. And Soames was very careful 
to keep the proximity of the preliminary proceedings from 
his nephew's ears. He did more. He asked him to dine 
at the Remove, and over Val's cigar introduced the subject 
which he knew to be nearest to his heart. 

" I hear," he said, " that you want to play polo up at 

Val became less recumbent in his chair. 

" Rather !" he said. 

" Well," continued Soames, " that's a very expensive 
business. Your grandfather isn't likely to consent to it 
unless he can make sure that he's not got any other drain 
on him." And he paused to see whether the boy under- 
stood his meaning. 


Val's dark thick lashes concealed his eyes, but a slight 
grimace appeared on his wide mouth, and he muttered: 

" I suppose you mean my dad !" 

" Yes," said Soames; " I'm afraid it depends on whether 
he continues to be a drag or not;" and said no more, letting 
the boy dream it over. 

But Val was also dreaming in those days of a silver-roan 
palfrey and a girl riding it. Though Crum was in town 
and an introduction to Cynthia Dark to be had for the asking, 
Val did not ask; indeed, he shunned Crum and lived a life 
strange even to himself, except in so far as accounts with 
tailor and livery stable were concerned. To his mother, 
his sisters, his young brother, he seemed to spend this 
Vacation in ' seeing fellows,' and his evenings sleepily at 
home. They could not propose anything in daylight that 
did not meet with the one response: " Sorry; I've got to see 
a fellow"; and he was put to extraordinary shifts to get in 
and out of the house unobserved in riding clothes; until, 
being made a member of the Goat's Club, he was able to 
transport them there, where he could change unregarded 
and slip off on his hack to Richmond Park. He kept his 
growing sentiment religiously to himself. Not for a world 
would he breathe to the 'fellows,' whom he was not 'seeing,' 
anything so ridiculous from the point of view of their creed 
and his. But he could not help its destroying his other 
appetites. It was coming between him and the legitimate 
pleasures of youth at last on its own in a way which must, he 
knew, make him a milksop in the eyes of Crum. All he cared 
for was to dress in his last-created riding togs, and steal away 
to the Robin Hill Gate, where presently the silver roan 
would come demurely sidling with its slim and dark-haired 
rider, and in the glades bare of leaves they would go off side 
by side, not talking very much, riding races sometimes, and 
sometimes holding hands. More than once of an evening. 


in a moment of expansion, he had been tempted to tell his 
mother how this shy sweet cousin had stolen in upon him 
and wrecked his ' life.' But bitter experience, that all 
persons above thirty-five were spoil-sports, prevented him. 
After all, he supposed he would have to go through with 
College, and she would have to ' come out,' before they could 
be married; so why complicate things, so long as he could 
see her? Sisters were teasing and unsympathetic beings, 
a brother worse, so there was no one to confide in; besides, 
this beastly divorce business ! Ah ! what a misfortune to 
have a name which other people hadn't ! If only he had 
been called Gordon or Scott or Howard or something fairly 
common ! But Dartie — there wasn't another in the direc- 
tory ! One might as well have been named Morkin for all 
the covert it afforded ! So matters went on, till one day in 
the middle of January the silver-roan palfrey and its rider 
were missing at the tryst. Lingering in the cold, he debated 
whether he should ride on to the house. But Jolly might 
be there, and the memory of their dark encounter was still 
fresh within him. One could not be always fighting with 
her brother ! So he returned dismally to town and spent 
an evening plunged in gloom. At breakfast next day he 
noticed that his mother had on an unfamiliar dress and was 
wearing her hat. The dress was black with a glimpse of 
peacock blue, the hat black and large — she looked exception- 
ally well. But when after breakfast she said to him, " Come 
in here, Val," and led the way to the drawing-room, he was 
at once beset by qualms. Winifred carefully shut the door 
and passed her handkerchief over her lips; inhaling the 
violctte de Parme with which it had been soaked, Val 
thought: ' Has she found out about Holly f 

Her voice interrupted: 

" Are you going to be nice to me, dear boy?" 

Val grinned doubtfully. 


" Will you come with me this morning " 

" I've got to see " began Val, but something in her 

face stopped him. " I say," he said, " you don't mean " 

" Yes, I have to go to the Court this morning." 

Already ! — that d — d business which he had almost 
succeeded in forgetting, since nobody ever mentioned it. 
In self-commiseration he stood picking little bits of skin off 
his fingers. Then noticing that his mother's lips were all 
awry, he said impulsively: "All right, mother; I'll come. 
The brutes !" What brutes he did not know, but the ex- 
pression exactly summed up their joint feeling, and restored 
a measure of equanimity. 

" I suppose I'd better change into a ' shooter,' " he 
muttered, escaping to his room. He put on the ' shooter,' 
a higher collar, a pearl pin, and his neatest grey spats, to a 
somewhat blasphemous accompaniment. Looking at him- 
self in the glass, he said, " Well, I'm damned if I'm going to 
show anything !" and went down. He found his grand- 
father's carriage at the door, and his mother in furs, with the 
appearance of one going to a Mansion House Assembly. 
They seated themselves side by side in the closed barouche, 
and all the way to the Courts of Justice Val made but one 
allusion to the business in hand. " There'll be nothing 
about those pearls, will there?" 

The little tufted white tails of Winifred's muff began to 

" Oh no," she said, " it'll be quite harmless to-day. Your 
grandmother wanted to come too, but I wouldn't let her. 
I thought you could take care of me. You look so nice, Val. 
Just pull your coat collar up a little more at the back — that's 

" If they bully you " began Val. 

" Oh ! they won't. I shall be very cool. It's the only 


" They won't want me to give evidence or anything ?" 

" No, dear; it's all arranged." And she patted his hand. 
The determined front she was putting on it stayed the tur- 
moil in Val's chest, and he busied himself in drawing his 
gloves oif and on. He had taken what he now saw was the 
wrong pair to go with his spats; they should have been grey, 
but were deerskin of a dark tan; whether to keep them on or 
not he could not decide. They arrived soon after ten. It 
was his first visit to the Law Courts, and the building struck 
him at once. 

" By Jove !" he said as they passed into the hall, " this'd 
make four or five jolly good racket courts." 

Soames was awaiting them at the foot of some stairs. 

" Here you are !" he said, without shaking hands, as if the 
event had made them too familiar for such formalities. " It's 
Happerly Browne, Court I. We shall be on first." 

A sensation such as he had known when going in to bat 
was playing now in the top of Val's chest, but he followed his 
mother and uncle doggedly, looking at no more than he 
could help, and thinking that the place smelled ' fuggy.' 
People seemed to be lurking everywhere, and he plucked 
Soames by the sleeve. 

" I say. Uncle, you're not going to let those beastly papers 
in, are you ?" 

Soames gave him the sideway look which had reduced 
many to silence in its time. 

" In here," he said. " You needn't take off your furs, 

Val entered behind them, nettled and with his head up. 
In this confounded hole everybody — and there were a good 
many of them — seemed sitting on everybody else's knee, 
though really divided from each other by pews; and Val had 
a feeling that they might all slip down together into the well. 
This, however, was but a momentary vision — of mahogany, 


and black gowns, and white blobs of wigs and faces and papers, 
all rather secret and whispery — before he was sitting next 
his mother in the front row, with his back to it all, glad of 
her violette de Parme, and taking off his gloves for the last 
time. His mother was looking at him; he was suddenly 
conscious that she had really wanted him there next to her, 
and that he counted for something in this business. All 
right ! He would show them ! Squaring his shoulders, 
he crossed his legs and gazed inscrutably at his spats. But 
just then an ' old Johnny ' in a gown and long wig, looking 
awfully like a funny raddled woman, came through a door 
into the high pew opposite, and he had to uncross his legs 
hastily, and stand up with everybody else. 

' Dartie versus Dartie !' 

It seemed to Val unspeakably disgusting to have one's 
name called out like this in public ! And, suddenly conscious 
that someone nearly behind him had begun talking about 
his family, he screwed his face round to see an old be-wigged 
buffer, who spoke as if he were eating his own words — 
queer-looking old cuss, the sort of man he had seen once or 
twice dining at Park Lane and punishing the port; he knew 
now where they ' dug them up.' All the same he found the 
old buffer quite fascinating, and would have continued to 
stare if his mother had not touched his arm. Reduced to 
gazing before him, he fixed his eyes on the Judge's face 
instead. Why should that old ' sportsman ' with his sar- 
castic mouth and his quick-moving eyes have the power to 
meddle with their private affairs — hadn't he affairs of his 
own, just as many, and probably just as nasty ? And there 
moved in Val, like an illness, all the deep-seated individualism 
of his breed. The voice behind him droned along: " Differ- 
ences about money matters — extravagance of the respon- 
dent " (What a word ! Was that his father ?) — " strained 
situation — frequent absences on the part of Mr. Dartie. 


My client, very rightly, your Ludship will agree, was anxious 
to check a course — but lead to ruin — remonstrated — 

gambling at cards and on the racecourse " (' That's 

right !' thought Val, ' pile it on !') " Crisis early in 
October, when the respondent wrote her this letter from his 
Club." Val sat up and his ears burned. " I propose to 
read it with the emendations necessary to the epistle of a 
gentleman who has been — shall we say dining, me Lud ?" 

'Old brute!' thought Val, flushing deeper; 'you're 
not paid to make jokes !' 

" ' You will not get the chance to insult me again in my 
own house. I am leaving the country to-morrow. It's 
played out ' — an expression, your Ludship, not unknown 
in the mouths of those who have not met with conspicuous 

' Sniggering owls !' thought Val, and his flush deepened. 

" ' I am tired of being insulted by you.' My client will 
tell your Ludship that these so-called insults consisted in 
her calling him ' the limit ' — a very mild expression, I venture 
to suggest, in all the circumstances." 

Val glanced sideways at his mother's impassive face, it had 
a hunted look in the eyes. ' Poor mother ' he thought, 
and touched her arm with his own. The voice behind 
droned on. 

" ' I am going to live a new life. — M. D.' 

"And next day, me Lud, the respondent left by the steam- 
ship Tuscarora for Buenos Aires. Since then we have no- 
thing from him but a cabled refusal in answer to the letter 
which my client wrote the following day in great distress, 
begging him to return to her. With your Ludship's 
permission, I shall now put Mrs. Dartie in the box." 

When his mother rose, Val had a tremendous impulse to 
rise too and say: ' Look here ! I'm going to see you jolly 
well treat her decently.' He subdued it, however; heard 


her saying, 'the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the 
truth,' and looked up. She made a rich figure of it, in her 
furs and large hat, with a slight flush on her cheek-bones, 
calm, matter-of-fact; and he felt proud of her thus con- 
fronting all these ' confounded lawyers,' The examination 
began. Knowing that this was only the preliminary to 
divorce, Val followed with a certain glee the questions 
framed so as to give the impression that she really wanted 
his father back. It seemed to him that they were ' foxing 
Old Bagwigs finely.' And he had a most unpleasant jar 
when the Judge said suddenly: 

" Now, why did your husband leave you — not because 
you called him ' the limit,' you know ?" 

Val saw his uncle lift his eyes to the witness box, without 
moving his face; heard a shuffle of papers behind him; and 
instinct told him that the issue was in peril. Had Uncle 
Soames and the old buffer behind made a mess of it ? His 
mother was speaking with a slight drawl. 

" No, my lord, but it had gone on a long time." 

" What had gone on ?" 

" Our differences about money." 

" But you supplied the money. Do you suggest that he 
left you to better his position ?" 

' The brute ! The old brute, and nothing but the brute !' 
thought Val suddenly. ' He smells a rat — he's trying to get 
at the pastry !' And his heart stood still. If — if he did, 
then, of course, he would know that his mother didn't really 
want his father back. His mother spoke again, a thought 
more fashionably. 

" No, my Lord, but you see I had refused to give him any 
more money. It took him a long time to believe that, but 
he did at last — and when he did " 

" I see, you had refused. But you've sent him some since." 

" My Lord, I wanted him back." 


" And you thought that would bring him ?" 

" I don't know, my Lord, I acted on my father's advice." 

Something in the Judge's face, in the sound of the papers 
behind him, in the sudden crossing of his uncle's legs, told 
Val that she had made just the right answer. ' Crafty !' he 
thought; ' by Jove, what humbug it all is !' 

The Judge was speaking: 

" Just one more question, Mrs. Dartie. Are you still 
fond of your husband f " 

Val's hands, slack behind him, became fists. What 
business had that Judge to make things human suddenly ? 
To make his mother speak out of her heart, and say what, 
perhaps, she didn't know herself, before all these people ! 
It wasn't decent. His mother answered, rather low: " Yes, 
my Lord." Val saw the Judge nod. ' Wish I could take a 
cock-shy at your head !' he thought irreverently, as his 
mother came back to her seat beside him. Witnesses to his 
father's departure and continued absence followed — one 
of their own maids even, which struck Val as particularly 
beastly; there was more talking, all humbug; and then the 
Judge pronounced the decree for restitution, and they got 
up to go. Val walked out behind his mother, chin squared, 
eyelids drooped, doing his level best to despise everybody. 
His mother's voice in the corridor roused him from an angry 

" You behaved beautifully, dear. It was such a comfort 
to have you. Your uncle and I are going to lunch." 

" All right," said Val; " I shall have time to go and see that 
fellow." And, parting from them abruptly, he ran down the 
stairs and out into the air. He bolted into a hansom, and 
drove to the Goat's Club. His thoughts were on Holly 
and what he must do before her brother showed her this 
thing in to-morrow's paper. 


When Val had left them Soames and Winifred made their 
way to the Cheshire Cheese. He had suggested it as a 
meeting place with Mr, Bellby. At that early hour of noon 
they would have it to themselvei, and Winifred had thought 
it would be ' amusing ' to 8ee this far-famed hostelry. 
Having ordered a light repast, to the consternation of the 
waiter, they awaited its arrival together with that of Mr. 
Bellby, in silent reaction after the hour and a half's suspense 
on the tenterhooks of publicity. Mr. Bellby entered 
presently, preceded by his nose, as cheerful as they were 
glum. Well ! they had got the decree of restitution, and 
what was the matter with that ! 

" Quite," said Soames in a suitably low voice, " but we 
shall have to begin again to get evidence. He'll probably 
try the divorce — it will look fishy if it comes out that we 
knew of misconduct from the start, flis questions showed 
well enough that he doesn't like this restitution dodge." 

" Pho !" said Mr. Bellby cheerily, " he'll forget ! Why, 
man, he'll have tried a hundred cases between now and then. 
Besides, he's bound by precedent to give ye your divorce, 
if the evidence is satisfactory. We won't let um know that 
Mrs. Dartie had knowledge of the facts. Dreamer did it 
very nicely — he's got a fatherly touch about um !" 

Soames nodded. 

" And I compliment ye, Mrs. Dartie," went on Mr. 
Bellby; " ye've a natural gift for giving evidence. Steady 
as a rock." 

Here the waiter arrived with three plates balanced on one 
arm, and the remark: " I 'urried up the pudden, sir. You'll 
find plenty o' lark in it to-day." 

Mr. Bellby applauded his forethought with a dip of his 
nose. But Soames and Winifred looked with dismay at 
their light lunch of gravified brown masses, touching them 
gingerly with their forks in the hope of distinguishing the 


bodies of the tasty little song-givers. Having begun, how- 
ever, they found they were hungrier than they thought, 
and finished the lot, with a glass of port apiece. Conversa- 
tion turned on the war. Soames thought Ladysmith would 
fall, and it might last a year. Bellby thought it would be 
over by the summer. Both agreed that they wanted more 
men. There was nothing for it but complete victory, since 
it was now a question of prestige. Winifred brought things 
back to more solid ground by saying that she did not want 
the divorce suit to come on till after the summer holidays 
had begun at Oxford, then the boys would have forgotten 
about it before Val had to go up again; the London season 
too would be over. The lawyers reassured her, an interval 
of six months was necessary — after that the earlier the better. 
People were now beginning to come in, and they parted — 
Soames to the city, Bellby to his chambers, Winifred in a 
hansom to Park Lane to let her mother know how she had 
fared. The issue had been so satisfactory on the whole 
that it was considered advisable to tell James, who never 
failed to say day after day that he didn't know about 
Winifred's affair, he couldn't tell. As his sands ran out, the 
importance of mundane matters became increasingly grave 
to him, as if he were feeling: ' I must make the most of it, 
and worry well; I shall soon have nothing to worry about.' 

He received the report grudgingly. It was a new-fangled 
way of going about things, and he didn't know ! But he 
gave Winifred a cheque, saying: 

" I expect you'll have a lot of expense. That's a new hat 
you've got on. Why doesn't Val come and see us ?" 

Winifred promised to bring him to dinner soon. And, 
going home, she sought her bedroom where she could be 
alone. Now that her husband had been ordered back into 
her custody with a view to putting him away from her for 
ever, she would try once more to find out from her sore and 
lonely heart what she really wanted. 



The morning had been misty, verging on frost, but the sun 
came out while Val was jogging towards the Roehampton 
Gate, whence he would canter on to the usual tryst. His 
spirits were rising rapidly. There had been nothing so very 
terrible in the morning's proceedings beyond the general 
disgrace of violated privacy. ' If we were engaged !' he 
thought, ' what happens wouldn't matter.' He felt, indeed, 
like human society, which kicks and clamours at the results 
of matrimony, and hastens to get married. And he galloped 
over the winter- dried grass of Richmond Park, fearing to be 
late. But again he was alone at the trysting spot, and this 
second defection on the part of Holly upset him dreadfully. 
He could not go back without seeing her to-day ! Emerging 
from the Park, he proceeded towards Robin Hill. He could 
not make up his mind for whom to ask. Suppose her father 
were back, or her sister or brother were in ! He decided 
to gamble, and ask for them all first, so that if he were in 
luck and they were not there, it would be quite natural in the 
end to ask for Holly; while if any of them were in — an 
* excuse for a ride ' must be his saving grace. 

" Only Miss Holly is in, sir." 

" Oh ! thanks. Might I take my horse round to the stables ? 
And would you say — her cousin, Mr. Val Dartie." 

When he returned she was in the hall, very flushed and 

shy. She led him to the far end, and they sat down on a 

wide window-seat. 



" I've been awfully anxious," said Val in a low voice. 
" What's the matter?" 

" Jolly knows about our riding." 

"Is he in?" 

" No; but I expect he will be soon." 

" Then !" cried Val, and diving forward, he seized 

her hand. She tried to withdraw it, failed, gave up the 
attempt, and looked at him wistfully. 

" First of all," he said, " I want to tell you something 
about my family. My Dad, you know, isn't altogether — 
I mean, he's left my mother and they're trying to divorce 
him; so they've ordered him to come back, you see. You'll 
see that in the paper to-morrow." 

Her eyes deepened in colour and fearful interest; her 
hand squeezed his. But the gambler in Val was roused now, 
and he hurried on: 

" Of course there's nothing very much at present, but 
there will be, I expect, before it's over; divorce suits are 
beastly, you know. I wanted to tell you, because — because 
— you ought to know — if — " and he began to stammer, 
gazing at her troubled eyes, " if — if you're going to be a 
darling and love me. Holly. I love you — ever so; and I 
want to be engaged." He had done it in a manner so in- 
adequate that he could have punched his own head; and, 
dropping on his knees, he tried to get nearer to that soft, 
troubled face. " You do love me — don't you? If you 

don't, I " There was a moment of silence and suspense, 

so awful that he could hear the sound of a mowing-machine 
far out on the lawn pretending there was grass to cut. Then 
she swayed forward; her free hand touched his hair, and he 
gasped: "Oh, Holly!" 

Her answer was very soft: " Oh, Val !" 

He had dreamed of this moment, but always in an impera- 
tive mood, as the masterful young lover, and now he felt 


humble, touched, trembly. He was afraid to stir off his 
knees lest he should break the spell; lest, if he did, she should 
shrink and deny her own surrender — so tremulous was she 
in his grasp, with her eyelids closed and his lips nearing them. 
Her eyes opened, seemed to swim a little; he pressed his lips 
to hers. Suddenly he sprang up; there had been footsteps, 
a sort of startled grunt. He looked round. No one! But the 
long curtains which barred off the outer hall were quivering, 

"My God! Who was that?". 

Holly too was on her feet. 

" Jolly, I expect," she whispered. 

Val clenched fists and resolution. 

" All right !" he said, " I don't care a bit now we're 
engaged," and striding towards the curtains, he drew 
them aside. There at the fireplace in the hall stood Jolly, 
with his back elaborately turned. Val went forward. Jolly 
faced round on him. 

" I beg your pardon for hearing," he said. 

With the best intentions in the world, Val could not help 
admiring him at that moment; his face was clear, his voice 
quiet, he looked somehow distinguished, as if acting up to 

" Well !" Val said abruptly, " it's nothing to you." 

" Oh !" said Jolly; " you come this way," and he crossed 
the hall. Val followed. At the study door he felt a touch 
on his arm; Holly's voice said: 

" I'm coming too." 

" No," said Jolly. 

" Yes," said Holly. 

Jolly opened the door, and they all three went in. Once 
in the little room, they stood in a sort of triangle on 
three corners of the worn Turkey carpet; awkwardly upright, 
not looking at each other, quite incapable of seeing any 
humour in the situation. 


Val broke the silence. 

" Holly and I are engaged." 

Jolly stepped back and leaned against the lintel of the 

" This is our house," he said; " I'm not going to insult 
you in it. But my father's away. I'm in charge of my 
sister. You've taken advantage of me." 

" I didn't mean to," said Val hotly. 

" I think you did," said Jolly. " If you hadn't meant to, 
you'd have spoken to me, or waited for my father to come 

" There were reasons," said Val. 

" What reasons?" 

" About my family — I've just told her. I wanted her to 
know before things happen." 

Jolly suddenly became less distinguished. 

" You're kids," he said, " and you know you are." 

" I am 7iot a kid," said Val. 

" You are — you're not twenty." 

" Well, what are you?" 

" I am twenty," said Jolly. 

" Only just; anyway, I'm as good a man as you." 

Jolly's face crimsoned, then clouded. Some struggle was 
evidently taking place in him; and Val and Holly stared at 
him, so clearly was that struggle marked; they could even 
hear him breathing. Then his face cleared up and became 
oddly resolute. 

" We'll see that," he said. " I dare you to do what I'm 
going to do." 

" Dare me?" 

Jolly smiled. "Yes," he said, "dare you; and I know 
very well you won't." 

A stab of misgiving shot through Val; this was riding very 


" I haven't forgotten that you're a fire-eater," said Jolly 
slowly, " and I think that's about all you are; or that you 
called me a pro-Boer." 

Val heard a gasp above the sound of his own hard 
breathing, and saw Holly's face poked a little forward, very 
pale, with big eyes. 

" Yes," went on Jolly with a sort of smile, " we shall soon 
see. I'm going to join the Imperial Yeomanry, and I dare 
you to do the same, Mr. Val Dartie." 

Val's head jerked on its stem. It was like a blow between 
the eyes, so utterly unthought of, so extreme and ugly in the 
midst of his dreaming; and he looked at Holly with eyes 
grown suddenly, touchingly haggard. 

" Sit down !" said Jolly. " Take your time ! Think it 
over well." And he himself sat down on the arm of his 
grandfather's chair. 

Val did not sit down; he stood with hands thrust deep 
into his breeches' pockets — hands clenched and quivering. 
The full awfulness of this decision one way or the other 
knocked at his mind with double knocks as of an angry post- 
man. If he did not take that ' dare ' he was disgraced in 
Holly's eyes, and in the eyes of that young enemy, her brute 
of a brother. Yet if he took it, ah ! then all would vanish — 
her face, her eyes, her hair, her kisses just begun ! 

" Take your time," said Jolly again; " I don't want to be 

And they both looked at Holly. She had recoiled against 
the bookshelves reaching to the ceiling; her dark head leaned 
against Gibbon's Roman Empire, her eyes in a sort of soft 
grey agony were fixed on Val. And he, who had not much 
gift of insight, had suddenly a gleam of vision. She would 
be proud of her brother — that enemy ! She would be 
ashamed of him ! His hands came out of his pockets as if 
lifted by a spring. 



" All right !" he said. " Done !" 

Holly's face — oh ! it was queer ! He saw her flush, start 
forward. He had done the right thing — her face was shining 
with wistful admiration. Jolly stood up and made a little 
bow as who should say: ' You've passed.' 

" To-morrow, then," he said, " we'll go together." 

Recovering from the impetus which had carried him to 
that decision, Val looked at him maliciously from under his 
lashes. ' All right,' he thought, ' one to you. I shall have 
to join — but I'll get back on you somehow.' And he said 
with dignity: " I shall be ready." 

" We'll meet at the main Recruiting Office, then," said 
Jolly, " at twelve o'clock." And, opening the window, he 
went out on to the terrace, conforming to the creed which 
had made him retire when he surprised them in the hall. 

The confusion in the mind of Val thus left alone with her 
for whom he had paid this sudden price was extreme. The 
mood of ' showing-off ' was still, however, uppermost. One 
must do the wretched thing with an air ! 

" We shall get plenty of riding and shooting, anyway," 
he said; " that's one comfort." And it gave him a sort of 
grim pleasure to hear the sigh which seemed to come from 
the bottom of her heart. 

" Oh ! the war'll soon be over," he said; " perhaps we 
shan't even have to go out. I don't care, except for you." 
He would be out of the way of that beastly divorce. It 
was an ill-wind ! He felt her warm hand slip into his. 
Jolly thought he had stopped their loving each other, did he ? 
He held her tightly round the waist, looking at her softly 
through his lashes, smiling to cheer her up, promising to 
come down and see her soon, feeling somehow six inches 
taller and much more in command of her than he had ever 
dared feel before. Many times he kissed her before he 
mounted and rode back to town. So, swiftly, on the least 
provocation, does the possessive instinct flourish and grow. 



Dinner parties were not now given at James' in Park Lane — 
to every house the moment comes when Master or Mistress 
is no longer 'up to it ' ; no more can nine courses be served 
to twenty mouths above twenty fine white expanses; nor 
does the household cat any longer wonder why she is 
suddenly shut up. 

So with something like excitement Emily — who at seventy 
would still have liked a little feast and fashion now and then 
— ordered dinner for six instead of two, herself wrote a 
number of foreign words on cards, and arranged the flowers — 
mimosa from the Riviera, and white Roman hyacinths not 
from Rome. There would only be, of course, James and 
herself, Soames, Winifred, Val, and Imogen — but she liked 
to pretend a little and dally in imagination with the glory 
of the past. She so dressed herself that James remarked: 

" What are you putting on that thing for ? You'll catch 

But Emily knew that the necks of women are protected by 
love of shining, unto fourscore years, and she only answered: 

" Let me put you on one of those dickies I got you, James; 
then you'll only have to change your trousers, and put on 
your velvet coat, and there you'll be. Val likes you to look 

" Dicky !" said James. " You're always wasting your 
money on something." 

But he suffered the change to be made till his neck also 
shone, murmuring vaguely: 



" He's an extravagant chap, I'm afraid." 

A little brighter in the eye, with rather more colour than 
usual in his cheeks, he took his seat in the drawing-room to 
wait;for the sound of the front-door bell. 

" I've made it a proper dinner party," Emily said com- 
fortably; "I thought it would be good practice for Imogen — 
she must get used to it now she's coming out." 

James uttered an indeterminate sound, thinking of Imogen 
as she used to climb about his knee or pull Christmas 
crackers with him. 

" She'll be pretty," he muttered, " I shouldn't wonder." 

*' She is pretty," said Emily; " she ought to make a good 

" There you go," murmured James ; " she'd much better 
stay at home and look after her mother." A second Dartie 
carrying off his pretty granddaughter would finish him ! 
He had never quite forgiven Emily for having been as 
much taken in by Montagu Dartie as he himself had 

" Where's Warmson ?" he said suddenly. " I should like 
a glass of Madeira to-night." 

" There's champagne, James." 

James shook his head. "No body," he said: "I can't 
get any good out of it." 

Emily reached forward on her side of the fire and rang the 

" Your master would like a bottle of Madeira opened, 

" No, no !" said James, the tips of his ears quivering with 
vehemence, and his eyes fixed on an object seen by him 
alone. " Look here, Warmson, you go to the inner cellar, 
and on the middle shelf of the end bin on the left you'll see 
seven bottles; take the one in the centre, and don't shake it. 
It's the last of the Madeira I had from Mr. Jolyon when we 


came in here — never been moved; it ought to be in prime 
condition still; but I don't know^, I can't tell." 

" Very good, sir," responded the withdrawing Warmson. 
" I was keeping it for our golden wedding," said James 
suddenly, " but I shan't live three years at my age." 
" Nonsense, James," said Emily, " don't talk like that." 
" I ought to have got it up myself," murmured James, 
" he'll shake it as likely as not." And he sank into silent recol- 
lection of long moments among the open gas-jets, the cob- 
webs and the good smell of wine-soaked corks, which had been 
appetiser to so many feasts. In the wine from that cellar was 
written the history of the forty-seven years since he had 
come to the Park Lane house with his young bride, and 
of the many generations of friends and acquaintances who 
had passed into the unknown; its depleted bins preserved 
the record of family festivity — all the marriages, births, 
deaths of his kith and kin. And when he was gone there 
it would be, and he didn't know what would become of 
it. It'd be drunk or spoiled, he shouldn't wonder ! 

From that deep reverie the entrance of his son dragged 
him, followed very soon by that of Winifred and her two 

They went down arm-in-arm — James with Imogen, the 
debutante, because his pretty grandchild cheered him; 
Soames with Winifred; Emily with Val, whose eyes lighting 
on the oysters brightened. This was to be a proper full 
' blow-out ' with ' fizz ' and port ! And he felt in need of it, 
after what he had done that day, as yet undivulged. After 
the first glass or two it became pleasant to have this bomb- 
shell up his sleeve, this piece of sensational patriotism, or 
example, rather, of personal daring, to display — for his 
pleasure in what he had done for his Queen and Country 
was so far entirely personal. He was now a ' blood,' indis- 
solubly connected with guns and horses ; he had a right to 


swagger — not, of course, that he was going to. He should 
just announce it quietly, when there was a pause. And, 
glancing down the menu, he determined on ' Bombe aux 
fraises ' as the proper moment; there would be a certain 
solemnity while they were eating that. Once or twice before 
they reached that rosy summit of the dinner he was attacked 
by remembrance that his grandfather was never told any- 
thing ! Still, the old boy was drinking Madeira, and looking 
jolly fit ! Besides, he ought to be pleased at this set-off 
to the disgrace of the divorce. The sight of his uncle oppo- 
site, too, was a sharp incentive. He was so far from being 
a sportsman that it would be worth a lot to see his face. 
Besides, better to tell his mother in this way than privately, 
which might upset them both ! He was sorry for her, but 
after all one couldn't be expected to feel much for others 
when one had to part from Holly. 

His grandfather's voice travelled to him thinly. 

" Val, try a little of the Madeira with your ice. You 
won't get that up at college." 

Val watched the slow liquid filling his glass, the essential 
oil of the old wine glazing the surface; inhaled its aroma, 
and thought: 'Now for it !' It was a rich moment. He 
sipped, and a gentle glow spread in his veins, already heated. 
With a rapid look round, he said, " I joined the Imperial 
Yeomanry to-day, Granny," and emptied his glass as though 
drinking the health of his own act. 

" What !" It was his mother's desolate little word. 

" Young Jolly Forsyte and I went down there 

" You didn't sign ?" from Uncle Soames. 

" Rather ! We go into camp on Monday." 

" I say .'" cried Imogen. 

All looked at James. He was leaning forward with his 
hand behind his ear. 


" What's that ?" he said. "What's he saying? I can't 

Emily reached forward to pat Val's hand. 

" It's only that Val has joined the Yeomanry, James; it's 
very nice for him. He'll look his best in uniform." 

" Joined the — rubbish !" came from James, tremu- 
lously loud. " You can't see two yards before your nose. 
He — he'll have to go out there. Why ! he'll be fighting 
before he knows where he is." 

Val saw Imogen's eyes admiring him, and his mother still 
and fashionable with her handkerchief before her lips. 

Suddenly his uncle spoke. 

" You're under age." 

" I thought of that," smiled Val; " I gave my age as 

He heard his grandmother's admiring, "Well, Val, that was 
plucky of you"; was conscious of Warmson deferentially 
filling his champagne glass; and of his grandfather's 
voice moaning: " / don't know what'll become of you 
if you go on like this." 

Imogen was patting his shoulder, his uncle looking at him 
sidelong; only his mother sat unmoving, till, affected by her 
stillness, Val said: 

" It's all right, you know; we shall soon have them on the 
run. I only hope I shall come in for something." 

He felt elated, sorry, tremendously important all at once. 
This would show Uncle Soames, and all the Forsytes, how 
to be sportsmen. He had certainly done something heroic 
and exceptional in giving his age as twenty-one. 
Emily's voice brought him back to earth. 

" You mustn't have a second glass, James. Warmson !" 

" Won't they be astonished at Timothy's !" burst out 
Imogen. " I'd give anything to see their faces. Do you 
have a sword, Val, or only'a popgun ?" 


" What made you ?" 

His uncle's voice produced a slight chill in the pit of Val's 
stomach. Made him ? How answer that ? He was 
grateful for his grandmother's comfortable: 

*' Well, I think it's very plucky of Val. I'm sure he'll 
make a splendid soldier; he's just the figure for it. We shall 
all be proud of him." 

" What had young Jolly Forsyte to do with it ? Why did 
you go together ?" pursued Soames, uncannily relentless. 
" I thought you weren't friendly with him ?" 

" I'm not," mumbled Val, " but I wasn't going to be 
beaten by him." He saw his uncle look at him quite 
differently, as if approving. His grandfather was nodding 
too, his grandmother tossing her head. They all approved 
of his not being beaten by that cousin of his. There must 
be a reason ! Val was dimly conscious of some disturbing 
point outside his range of vision ; as it might be, the unlocated 
centre of a cyclone. And, staring at his uncle's face, he had 
a quite unaccountable vision of a woman with dark eyes, 
gold hair, and a white neck, who smelt nice, and had pretty 
silken clothes which he had liked feeling when he was quite 
small. By Jove, yes ! Aunt Irene ! She used to kiss him, 
and he had bitten her arm once, playfully, because he liked 
it — so soft. His grandfather was speaking; 

" What's his father doing ?" 

" He's away in Paris," Val said, staring at the very queer 
expression on his uncle's face, like — like that of a snarling 

" Artists !" said James. The word coming from the very 
bottom of his soul, broke up the dinner. 

Opposite his mother in the cab going home, Val tasted 
the after-fruits of heroism, like medlars over-ripe. 

She only said, indeed, that he must go to his tailor's at 
once and have his uniform properly made, and not just put 


up with what they gave him. But he could feel that she 
was very much upset. It was on his lips to console her with 
the spoken thought that he would be out of the way of that 
beastly divorce, but the presence of Imogen, and the know- 
ledge that his mother would not be out of the way, restrained 
him. He felt aggrieved that she did not seem more proud 
of him. When Imogen had gone to bed, he risked the 

" I'm awfully sorry to have to leave you, Mother." 

" Well, I must make the best of it. We must try and get 
you a commission as soon as we can; then you won't have to 
rough it so. Do you know any drill, Val ?" 

" Not a scrap." 

" I hope they won't worry you much. I must take you 
about to get the things to-morrow. Good-night; kiss 


With that kiss, soft and hot, between his eyes, and those 
words, ' I hope they won't worry you much,' in his ears, he 
sat down to a cigarette, before a dying fire. The heat was 
out of him — the glow of cutting a dash. It was all a damned 
heartaching bore. ' I'll be even with that chap Jolly,' he 
thought, trailing up the stairs, past the room where his 
mother was biting her pillow to smother a sense of desolation 
which was trying to make her sob. 

And soon only one of the diners at James' was awake — 
Soames, in his bedroom above his father's. 

So that fellow Jolyon was in Paris — what was he doing 
there ? Hanging round Irene ! The last report from 
Polteed had hinted that there might be something soon. 
Could it be this ? That fellow, with his beard and his 
cursed amused way of speaking — son of the old man who 
had given him the nickname ' Man of Property,' and 
bought the fatal house from' him. Soames had ever re- 
sented having had to sell the house at Robin Hill; never 


forgiven his uncle for having bought it, or his cousin for 
living in it. 

Reckless of the cold, he threw his window up and gazed 
out across the Park. Bleak and dark the January night; 
little sound of traffic; a frost coming; bare trees; a star or 
two. ' I'll see Polteed to-morrow,' he thought. ' By God ! 

I'm mad, I think, to want her still. That fellow ! If ? 

Um ! No !' 



JoLYON, who had crossed from Calais by night, arrived at 
Robin Hill on Sunday morning. He had sent no word 
beforehand, so walked up from the station, entering his 
domain by the coppice gate. Coming to the log seat 
fashioned out of an old fallen trunk, he sat down, first laying 
his overcoat on it. ' Lumbago !' he thought; ' that's what 
love ends in at my time of life !' And suddenly Irene 
seemed very near, just as she had been that day of rambling 
at Fontainebleau when they sat on a log to eat their lunch. 
Hauntingly near ! Odour drawn out of fallen leaves by 
the pale filtering sunlight soaked his nostrils. ' I'm glad 
it isn't spring,' he thought. With the scent of sap, and the 
song of birds, and the bursting of the blossoms, it would 
have been unbearable ! ' I hope I shall be over it by 
then, old fool that I am !' and picking up his coat, he 
walked on into the field. He passed the pond and mounted 
the hill slowly. Near the top a hoarse barking greeted him. 
Up on the lawn above the fernery he could see his old dog 
Balthasar. The animal, whose dim eyes took his master 
for a stranger, was warning the world against him. Jolyon 
gave his special whistle. Even at that distance of a hundred 
yards and more he could see the dawning recognition in the 
obese brown- white body. The old dog got off his haunches, 
and his tail, close-curled over his back, began a feeble, 
excited fluttering; he came waddling forward, gathered 
momentum, and disappeared over the edge of the fernery. 
Jolyon expected to meet him at the wicket gate, but Bal- 



thasar was not there, and, rather alarmed, he turned into the 
fernery. On his fat side, looking up with eyes already 
glazing, the old dog lay. 

" What is it, my poor old man ?" cried Jolyon. Baltha- 
sar's curled and fluffy tail just moved; his filming eyes 
seemed saying: " I can't get up, master, but I'm glad to see 

Jolyon knelt down; his eyes, very dimmed, could hardly 
see the slowly ceasing heave of the dog's side. He raised 
the head a little — very heavy. 

" What is it, dear man ? Where are you hurt ?" The tail 
fluttered once; the eyes lost the look of life. Jolyon passed 
his hands all over the inert warm bulk. There was nothing 
— the heart had simply failed in that obese body from the 
emotion of his master's return. Jolyon could feel the 
muzzle, where a few whitish bristles grew, cooling already 
against his lips. He stayed for some minutes kneeling, with 
his hand beneath the stiffening head. The body was very 
heavy when he bore it to the top of the field; leaves had 
drifted there, and he strewed it with a covering of them; 
there was no wind, and they would keep him from curious 
eyes until the afternoon. ' I'll bury him myself,' he thought. 
Eighteen years had gone since he first went into the St. 
John's Wood house with that tiny puppy in his pocket. 
Strange that the old dog should die just now ! Was it an 
omen ? He turned at the gate to look back at that russet 
mound, then went slowly towards the house, very choky in 
the throat. 

June was at home; she had come down hot-foot on hearing 
the news of Jolly's enlistment. His patriotism had con- 
quered her feeling for the Boers. The atmosphere of his 
house was strange and pocketty when Jolyon came in and 
told them of the dog Balthasar's death. The news had a 
unifying effect. A link with the past had snapped — the 


dog Balthasar ! Two of them could remember nothing 
before his day; to June he represented the last years of her 
grandfather; to Jolyon that life of domestic stress and aesthe- 
tic struggle before he came again into the kingdom of his 
father's love and wealth ! And he was gone ! 

In the afternoon he and Jolly took picks and spades and 
went out to the field. They chose a spot close to the russet 
mound, so that they need not carry him far, and, carefully 
cutting off the surface turf, began to dig. They dug in 
silence for ten minutes, and then rested. 

" Well, old man," said Jolyon, " so you thought you 
ought ?" 

" Yes," answered Jolly; " I don't want to a bit, of course." 

How exactly those words represented Jolyon's own state 
of mind ! 

" I admire you for it, old boy. I don't believe I should 
have done it at your age — too much of a Forsyte, I'm afraid. 
But I suppose the type gets thinner with each generation. 
Your son, if you have one, may be a pure altruist; who 
knows ?" 

" He won't be like me, then. Dad; I'm beastly selfish." 

" No, my dear, that you clearly are not." Jolly shook his 
head, and they dug again. 

" Strange life a dog's," said Jolyon suddenly; " the only 
four-footer with rudiments of altruism, and a sense of God !" 

Jolly looked at his father. 

" Do you believe in God, Dad ? I've never known." 

At so searching a question from one to whom it was 
impossible to make a light reply, Jolyon stood for a moment 
feeling his back tried by the digging. 

" What do you mean by God ?" he said; " there are two 
irreconcilable ideas of God, There's the Unknowable 
Creative Principle — one believes in That. And there's the 
Sum of altruism in man — naturally one believes in That." 


" I see. That leaves out Christ, doesn't it ?" 

Jolyon stared. Christ, the link between those two ideas ! 
Out of the mouth of babes ! Here was orthodoxy scientifi- 
cally explained at last ! The sublime poem of the Christ 
life was man's attempt to join those two irreconcilable con- 
ceptions of God. And since the Sum of human altruism 
was as much a part of the Unknowable Creative Principle 
as anything else in Nature and the Universe, a worse link 
might have been chosen after all ! Funny — how one went 
through life without seeing it in that sort of way ! 

" What do you think, old man ?" he said. 

Jolly frowned. " Of course, my first year we talked a 
good bit about that sort of thing. But in the second year 
one gives it up; I don't know why — it's awfully interesting," 

Jolyon remembered that he also had talked a good deal 
about it his first year at Cambridge, and given it up in his 

" I suppose," said Jolly, " it's the second God, you mean, 
that old Balthasar had a sense of." 

" Yes, or he would never have burst his poor old heart 
because of something outside himself." 

" But wasn't that just selfish emotion, really ?" 

Jolyon shook his head. " No, dogs are not pure Forsytes, 
they love something outside themselves." 

Jolly smiled. 

" Well, I think I'm one," he said. " You know, I only 
enlisted because I dared Val Dartie to." 

" But why ?" 

" We bar each other," said Jolly shortly. 

" Ah !" muttered Jolyon. So the feud went on, unto the 
third generation — this modern feud which had no overt 
expression ? 

' Shall I tell the boy about it ?' he thought. But to 
what end — if he had to stop short of his own part ? 


And Jolly thought: ' It's for Holly to let him know about 
that chap. If she doesn't, it means she doesn't want him 
told, and I should be sneaking. Anyway, I've stopped it. 
I'd better leave well alone !' 

So they dug on in silence, till Jolyon said: 

" Now, old man, I think it's big enough." And, resting 
on their spades, they gazed down into the hole where a few 
leaves had drifted already on a sunset wind. 

" I can't bear this part of it," said Jolyon suddenly. 

" Let me do it, Dad. He never cared much for me." 

Jolyon shook his head, 

" We'll lift him very gently, leaves and all. I'd rather 
not see him again. I'll take his head. Now !" 

With extreme care they raised the old dog's body, whose 
faded tan and white showed here and there under the leaves 
stirred by the wind. They laid it, heavy, cold, and unre- 
sponsive, in the grave, and Jolly spread more leaves over it, 
while Jolyon, deeply afraid to show emotion before his 
son, began quickly shovelling the earth on to that still 
shape. There went the past ! If only there were a joyful 
future to look forward to ! It was like stamping down earth 
on one's own life. They replaced the turf carefully on the 
smooth little mound, and, grateful that they had spared 
each other's feelings, returned to the house arm-in-arm. 



On Forsyte 'Change news of the enlistment spread fast, 
together with the report that June, not to be outdone, was 
going to become a Red Cross nurse. These events were so 
extreme, so subversive of pure Forsyteism, as to have a 
binding effect upon the family, and Timothy's was thronged 
next Sunday afternoon by members trying to find out what 
they thought about it all, and exchange with each other a 
sense of family credit. Giles and Jesse Hayman would no 
longer defend the coast but go to South Africa quite soon; 
Jolly and Val would be following in April; as to June — well, 
you never knew what she would really do ! 

The retirement from Spion Kop and the absence of any 
good news from the seat of war imparted an air of reality 
to all this, clinched in startling fashion by Timothy. The 
youngest of the old Forsytes — scarcely eighty, in fact — 
popularly supposed to resemble their father, ' Superior 
Dosset,' even in his best-known characteristic of drinking 
sherry — had been invisible for so many years that he was 
almost mythical. A long generation had elapsed since the 
risks of a publisher's business had worked on his nerves at the 
age of forty, so that he had got out with a mere thirty- five 
thousand pounds in the world, and started to make his living 
by careful investment. Putting by every year, at compound 
interest, he had doubled his capital in forty years without 
having once known what it was like to shake in his shoes over 
money matters. He was now putting aside some two thou- 
sand a year, and, with the care he was taking of himself, 



expected, so Aunt Hester said, to double his capital again 
before he died. What he would do with it then, with his 
sisters dead and himself dead, was often mockingly queried 
by free spirits such as Francie, Euphemia, or young Nicholas' 
second, Christopher, whose spirit was so free that he had 
actually said he was going on the stage. All admitted, how- 
ever, that this was best known to Timothy himself, and 
possibly to Soames, who never divulged a secret. 

Those few Forsytes who had seen him reported a man 
of thick and robust appearance, not very tall, with a brown- 
red complexion, grey hair, and little of the refinement of 
feature with which most of the Forsytes had been endowed 
by ' Superior Dosset's ' wife, a woman of some beauty and a 
gentle temperament. It was known that he had taken 
surprising interest in the war, sticking flags into a map ever 
since it began, and there was uneasiness as to what would 
happen if the English were driven into the sea, when it 
would be almost impossible for him to put the flags in the 
right places. As to his knowledge of family movements or 
his views about them, little was known, save that Aunt 
Hester was always declaring that he was very upset. It was, 
then, in the nature of a portent when Forsytes, arriving on 
the Sunday after the evacuation of Spion Kop, became 
conscious, one after the other, of a presence seated in the 
only really comfortable arm-chair, back to the light, con- 
cealing the lower part of his face with a large hand, and were 
greeted by the awed voice of Aunt Hester: 

" Your Uncle Timothy, my dear." 

Timothy's greeting to them all was somewhat identical; 
and rather, as it were, passed over by him than expressed: 

" How de do ? How de do ? 'Xcuse me gettin' up !" 

Francie was present, and Eustace had come in his car; 
Winifred had brought Imogen, breaking the ice of the 
restitution proceedings with the warmth of family apprecia- 



tion at Val's enlistment; and Marian Tweetyman with the 
last news of Giles and Jesse. These with Aunts Juley and 
Hester, young Nicholas, Euphemia, and — of all people.! — 
George, who had come with Eustace in the car, constituted 
an assembly worthy of the family's palmiest days. There 
was not one chair vacant in the whole of the little drawing- 
room, and anxiety was felt lest someone else should arrive. 

The constraint caused by Timothy's presence having 
worn off a little, conversation took a military turn. George 
asked Aunt Juley when she was going out with the Red Cross, 
almost reducing her to a state of gaiety; whereon he turned 
to Nicholas and said: 

" Young Nick's a warrior bold, isn't he ? When's he going 
to don the wild khaki ?" 

Young Nicholas, smiling with a sort of sweet deprecation, 
intimated that of course his mother was very anxious. 

" The Dromios are off, I hear," said George, turning to 
Marian Tweetyman ; " we shall all be there soon. En avant^ 
the Forsytes ! Roll, bowl, or pitch ! Who's for a cooler ?" 

Aunt Juley gurgled, George was so droll ! Should Hester 
get Timothy's map ? Then he could show them all where 
they were. 

At a sound from Timothy, interpreted as assent, Aunt 
Hester left the room. 

George pursued his image of the Forsyte advance, address- 
ing Timothy as Field Marshal; and Imogen, whom he had 
noted at once for ' a pretty filly,' — as Vivandiere; and holding 
his top-hat between his knees, he began to beat it with 
imaginary drumsticks. The reception accorded to his 
fantasy was mixed. All laughed — George was licensed; but 
all felt that the family was being ' rotted '; and this seemed 
to them unnatural, now that it was going to give five of its 
members to the service of the Queen. George might go too 
f^r; and there was relief when he got up, offered his arm to 


Aunt Juley, marched up to Timothy, saluted him, kissed 
his aunt with mock passion, said, " Oh ! what a treat, dear 
papa ! Come on, Eustace !" and walked out, followed by 
the grave and fastidious Eustace, who had never smiled. 
Aunt Juley's bewildered, " Fancy not waiting for the map ! 
You mustn't mind him, Timothy. He's so droll !" broke the 
hush, and Timothy removed the hand from his mouth. 

" I don't know what things are comin' to," he was heard 
to say. " What's all this about goin' out there ? That's 
not the wav to beat those Boers." 

Francie alone had the hardihood to observe: 

" What is, then, Uncle Timothy ?" 

" All this new-fangled volunteerin' and expense — lettin' 
money out of the country." 

Just then Aunt Hester brought in the map, handling it 
like a baby with eruptions. With the assistance of Euphemia 
it was laid on the piano, a small Colwood grand, last played 
on, it was believed, the summer before Aunt Ann died, 
thirteen years ago. Timothy rose. He walked over to the 
piano, and stood looking at his map while they all gathered 

" There you are," he said; " that's the position up to date; 
and very poor it is. H'm !" 

" Yes," said Francie, greatly daring, " but how are you 
going to alter it, Uncle Timothy, without more men ?" 

" Men !" said Timothy; " you don't want men — wastin' 
the country's money. You want a Napoleon, he'd settle 
it in a month." 

" But if you haven't got him, Uncle Timothy ?" 

" That's their business," replied Timothy. " What have 
we kept the Army up for — to eat their heads off in time of 
peace ! They ought to be ashamed of themselves, comin' 
on the country to help them like this ! Let every man 
stick to his business, and we shall get on." 


And looking round him, he added almost angrily: 

" Volunteerin', indeed ! Throwin' good money after 
bad ! We must save ! Conserve energy — that's the only 
way." And with a prolonged sound, not quite a sniff and 
not quite a snort, he trod on Euphemia's toe, and went 
out, leaving a sensation and a faint scent of barley-sugar 
behind him. 

The effect of something said with conviction by one who 
has evidently made a sacrifice to say it is ever considerable. 
And the eight Forsytes left behind, all women except young 
Nicholas, were silent for a moment round the map. Then 
Francie said: 

" Really, I think he's right, you know. After all, what is 
the Army for ? They ought to have known. It's only 
encouraging them." 

" My dear !" cried Aunt Juley, " but they've been so 
progressive. Think of their giving up their scarlet. They 
were always so proud of it. And now they all look like con- 
victs. Hester and I were saying only yesterday we were 
sure they must feel it very much. Fancy what the Iron 
Duke would have said !" 

" The new colour's very smart," said Winifred; " Val 
looks quite nice in his." 

Aunt Juley sighed. 

" I do so wonder what Jolyon's boy is like. To think 
we've never seen him ! His father must be so proud of him." 

" His father's in Paris," said Winifred. 

Aunt Hester's shoulder was seen to mount suddenly, as if 
to ward off her sister's next remark, for Juley's crumpled 
cheeks had flushed. 

" We had dear little Mrs. MacAnder here yesterday, just 
back from Paris. And whom d'you think she saw there in 
the street ? You'll never guess." 

' We shan't try, Auntie," said Euphcmia. 


" Irene ! Imagine ! After all this time; walking with a 
fair beard " 

" Auntie ! you'll kill me ! A fair beard " 

" I was going to say," said Aunt Juley severely, " a fair- 
bearded gentleman. And not a day older; she was always 
so pretty," she added, with a sort of lingering apology. 

" Oh ! tell us about her. Auntie," cried Imogen; " I can 
just remember her. She's the skeleton in the family cup- 
board, isn't she ? And they're such fun." 

Aunt Hester sat down. Really, Juley had done it now ! 

" She wasn't much of a skeleton as I remember her," 
murmured Euphemia, " extremely well-covered." 

" My dear !" said Aunt Juley, " what a peculiar way of 
putting it — not very nice." 

" No, but what was she like ?" persisted Imogen. 

" I'll tell you, my child," said Francie; " a kind of 
modern Venus, very well-dressed," 

Euphemia said sharply: " Venus was never dressed, and 
she had blue eyes of melting sapphire." 

At this juncture Nicholas took his leave. 

" Mrs. Nick is awfully strict," said Francie with a laugh. 

" She has six children," said Aunt Juley ; " it's very 
proper she should be careful." 

" Was Uncle Soames awfully fond of her ?" pursued the 
inexorable Imogen, moving her dark luscious eyes from face 
to face. 

Aunt Hester made a gesture of despair, just as Aunt Juley 
answered: " Yes, your Uncle Soames was very much attached 
to her." 

" I suppose she ran off with someone ?" 

" No, certainly not; that is — not precisely." 

" What did she do, then. Auntie ?" 

" Come along, Imogen," said Winifred, " we must be 
getting back." 


But Aunt Juley interjected resolutely: " She — she didn't 
behave at all well." 

" Oh, bother !" cried Imogen; " that's as far as I ever get." 

" Well, my dear," said Francie, " she had a love affair 
which ended with the young man's death; and then she left 
your uncle. I always rather liked her." 

" She used to give me chocolates," murmured Imogen, 
" and smell nice." 

" Of course !" remarked Euphemia. 

" Not of course at all !" replied Francie, who used a partic- 
ularly expensive essence of gilly-flower herself. 

" I can't think what we are about," said Aunt Juley, 
raising her hands, " talking of such things !" 

" Was she divorced ?" asked Imogen from the door. 

" Certainly not," cried Aunt Juley; " that is — certainly 


A sound was heard over by the far door. Timothy had 
re-entered the back drawing-room. " I've come for my 
map," he said. " Who's been divorced ?" 

" No one. Uncle," replied Francie with perfect truth. 

Timothy took his map off the piano. 

" Don't let's have anything of that sort in the family," he 
said. " All this enlistin's bad enough. The country's 
breakin' up; I don't know what we're comin' to." He 
shook a thick finger at the room: " Too many women nowa- 
days, and they don't know what they want." 

So saying, he grasped the map firmly with both hands, and 
went out as if afraid of being answered. 

The seven women whom he had addressed broke into a 
subdued murmur, out of which emerged Francie's, " Really, 

the Forsytes !" and Aunt Juley's: " He must have his 

feet in mustard and hot water to-night, Hester; will you 
tell Jane ? The blood has gone to his head again, I'm 
afraid." . . . 


That evening, when she and Hester were sitting alone 
after dinner, she dropped a stitch in her crochet, and 
looked up: 

" Hester, I can't think where I've heard that dear Soames 
wants Irene to come back to him again. Who was it told us 
that George had made a funny drawing of him with the 
words, ' He won't be happy till he gets it ' ?" 

" Eustace," answered Aunt Hester from behind The Times; 
" he had it in his pocket, but he wouldn't show it us." 

Aunt Juley was silent, ruminating. The clock ticked, 
The Times crackled, the fire sent forth its rustling purr. 
Aunt Juley dropped another stitch. 

" Hester," she said, " I have had such a dreadful thought." 

" Then don't tell mc," said Aunt Hester quickly. 

" Oh ! but I must. You can't think how dreadful !" 
Her voice sank to a whisper: 

" Jolyon — Jolyon, they say, has a — has a fair beard, now." 



Two days after the dinner at James', Mr. Polteed provided 
Soames with food for thought. 

" A gentleman," he said, consulting the key concealed in 
his left hand, " 47 as we say, has been paying marked attention 
to 17 during the last month in Paris. But at present there 
seems to have been nothing very conclusive. The meetings 
have all been in public places, without concealment — res- 
taurants, the Opera, the Comique, the Louvre, Luxembourg 
Gardens, lounge of the hotel, and so forth. She has not 
yet been traced to his rooms, nor vice versa. They went 
to Fontainebleau — but nothing of value. In short, the 
situation is promising, but requires patience." And looking 
up suddenly, he added: 

" One rather curious point — 47 has the same name as — 
er— 31 !" 

' The fellow knows I'm her husband,' thought Soames. 

" Christian name — an odd one — Jolyon," continued 
Mr. Polteed. " We know his address in Paris and his 
residence here. We don't wish, of course, to be running 
a wrong hare." 

" Go on with it, but be careful," said Soames doggedly. 

Instinctive certainty that this detective fellow had 
fathomed his secret made him all the more reticent. 

" Excuse me," said Mr. Polteed, " I'll just see if there's 
anything fresh in." 

He returned with some letters. Relocking the door, he 

glanced at the envelopes. 



" Yes, here's a personal one from 19 to myself." 

" Well ?" said Soames. 

" Um !" said Mr. Polteed, "she says: '47 left for 
England to-day. Address on his baggage: Robin Hill. 
Parted from 17 in Louvre Gallery at 3.30; nothing very 
striking. Thought it best to stay and continue observation 
of 17. You will deal with 47 in England if you think 
desirable, no doubt.' " And Mr. Polteed lifted an un- 
professional glance on Soames, as though he might be storing 
material for a book on human nature after he had gone out 
of business. " Very intelligent woman, 19, and a wonderful 
make-up. Not cheap, but earns her money well. There's 
no suspicion of being shadowed so far. But after a time, as 
you know, sensitive people are liable to get the feeling of it, 
without anything deiinite to go on. I should rather advise 
letting-up on 17, and keeping an eye on 47. We can't get 
at correspondence without great risk. I hardly advise that 
at this stage. But you can tell your client that it's looking 
up very well." And again his narrowed eyes gleamed at his 
taciturn customer. 

" No," said Soames suddenly, " I prefer that you should 
keep the watch going discreetly in Paris, and not concern 
yourself with this end." 

" Very well," rephed Mr. Polteed, " we can do it." 

" What — what is the manner between them ?" 

" I'll read you what she says," said Mr. Polteed, unlocking 
a bureau drawer and taking out a file of papers ; " she sums 
it up somewhere confidentially. Yes, here it is ! '17 very 
attractive — conclude 47, longer in the tooth ' (slang for age, 
you know) — ' distinctly gone — waiting his time — 17 perhaps 
holding oif for terms, impossible to say without knowing 
more. But inclined to think on the whole — doesn't know 
her mind — likely to act on impulse some day. Both have 


" What does that mean ?" said Soames between close lips. 
" Well," murmured Mr, Polteed with a smile, showing 
many white teeth, " an expression we use. In other words, 
it's not likely to be a week-end business — they'll come 
together seriously or not at all." 

" H'm !" muttered Soames, " that's all, is it ?" 
" Yes," said Mr. Polteed, " but quite promising." 
' Spider !' thought Soames. " Good-day !" 
He walked into the Green Park that he might cross to 
Victoria Station and take the Underground into the City. 
For so late in January it was warm; sunlight, through the 
haze, sparkled on the frosty grass — an illumined cobweb of 
a day. 

Little spiders — and great spiders ! And the greatest 
spinner of all, his own tenacity, for ever wrapping its cocoon 
of threads round any clear way out. What was that fellow 
hanging round Irene for ? Was it really as Polteed sug- 
gested ? Or was Jolyon but taking compassion on her 
loneliness, as he would call it — sentimental radical chap that 
he had always been ? If it were, indeed, as Polteed hinted ! 
Soames stood still. It could not be ! The fellow was six 
years older than himself, no better looking ! No richer ! 
What attraction had he ? 

' Besides, he's come back,' he thought ; ' that doesn't look 
I'll go and see him !' and, taking out a card, he wrote: 

" If you can spare half an hour some afternoon this week, 
I shall be at the Connoisseurs any day between 5.30 and 6, 
or I could come to the Hotch Potch if you prefer it, I want 
to see you. — S. F," 

He walked up St, James's Street and confided it to the 
porter at the Hotch Potch, 

" Give Mr. Jolyon Forsyte this as soon as he comes in," 
he said, and took one of the new motor cabs into the City. . . . 


Jolyon received that card the same afternoon, and turned 
his face towards the Connoisseurs. What did Soames want 
now ? Had he got wind of Paris ? And stepping across 
St. James's Street, he determined to make no secret of his 
visit. ' But it won't do,' he thought, ' to let him know she^s 
there, unless he knows already.' In this complicated state 
of mind he was conducted to where Soames was drinking 
tea in a small bay-window. 

" No tea, thanks," said Jolyon, " but I'll go on smoking 
if I may." 

The curtains were not yet drawn, though the lamps 
outside were lighted; the two cousins sat waiting on each 

" You've been in Paris, I hear," said Soames at last. 

" Yes; just back." 

" Young Val told me; he and your boy are going off, then ?" 
Jolyon nodded. 

" You didn't happen to see Irene, I suppose. It appears 
she's abroad somewhere." 

Jolyon wreathed himself in smoke before he answered: 
" Yes, I saw her." 

" How was she ?" 

" Very well." 

There was another silence ; then Soames roused himself in 
his chair. 

" When I saw you last," he said, " I was in two minds. 
We talked, and you expressed your opinion. I don't wish 
to re-open that discussion. I only wanted to say this: My 
position with her is extremely difficult. I don't want you 
to go using your influence against me. What happened is a 
very long time ago, I'm going to ask her to let bygones be 

" You have asked her, you know," murmured Jolyon. 

" The idea was new to her then; it came as a shock. But 


the more she thinks of it, the more she must see that it's the 
only way out for both of us." 

" That's not my impression of her state of mind," said 
Jolyon with particular calm. " And, forgive my saying, you 
misconceive the matter if you think reason comes into it 
at all." 

He saw his cousin's pale face grow paler — he had used, 
without knowing it, Irene's own words. 

" Thanks," muttered Soames, " but I see things perhaps 
more plainly than you think. I only want to be sure that 
you won't try to influence her against me." 

" I don't know what makes you think I have any influ- 
ence," said Jolyon; " but if I have I'm bound to use it in the 
direction of what I think is her happiness. I am what they 
call a ' feminist,' I believe." 

" Feminist 1" repeated Soames, as if seeking to gain time. 
" Does that mean that you're against me ?" 

" Bluntly," said Jolyon, " I'm against any woman living 
with any man whom she definitely dislikes. It appears to 

" And I suppose each time you see her you put your 
opinions into her mind." 

" I am not likely to be seeing her." 

" Not going back to Paris ?" 

" Not so far as I know," said Jolyon, conscious of the 
intent watchfulness in Soames' face. 

" Well, that's all I had to say. Anyone who comes 
between man and wife, you know, incurs heavy responsi- 

Jolyon rose and made him a slight bow. 

" Good-bye," he said, and, without offering to shake 
hands, moved away, leaving Soames staring after him. 
' We Forsytes,' thought Jolyon, hailing a cab, ' are very civi- 
lised. With simpler folk that might have come to a row. 


If it weren't for my boy going to the war ' The war ! 

A gust of his old doubt swept over him. A precious war ! 
Domination of peoples or of women ! Attempts to master 
and possess those who did not want you ! The negation 
of gentle decency ! Possession, vested rights; and anyone 
* agin ' 'em — outcast ! ' Thank Heaven !' he thought, ' / 
always felt " agin" 'em, anyway!' Yes ! Even before his 
first disastrous marriage he could remember fuming over the 
bludgeoning of Ireland, or the matrimonial suits of women 
trying to be free of men they loathed. Parsons would have 
it that freedom of soul and body were quite different things ! 
Pernicious doctrine, that ! Body and soul could not thus 
be separated. Free will was the strength of any tie, and not 
its weakness. ' I ought to have told Soames,' he thought, 
' that 1 think him comic. Ah ! but he's tragic, too !' 

Was there anything, indeed, more tragic in the world than 
a man enslaved by his own possessive instinct, who couldn't 
see the sky for it, or even enter fully into what another person 
felt ! ' I must write and warn her,' he thought ; ' he's 
going to have another try.' And all the way home to Robin 
Hill he rebelled at the strength of that duty to his son which 
prevented him from posting back to Paris. , . . 

But Soames sat long in his chair, the prey of a no less 
gnawing ache — a jealous ache, as if it had been revealed to 
him that this fellow held precedence of himself, and had spun 
fresh threads of resistance to his way out. ' Does that mean 
that you're against me ?' he had got nothing out of that 
disingenuous question. Feminist ! Phrasey fellow ! ' I 
mustn't rush things,' he thought. ' I have some breathing 
space; he's not going back to Paris, unless he was lying. I'll 
let the spring come !' Though how the spring could serve 
him, save by adding to his ache, he could not tell. And 
gazing down into the street, where figures were passing from 
pool to pool of the light from the high lamps, he thought: 


' Nothing seems any good — nothing seems worth while. 
I'm lonely — that's the trouble.' 

He closed his eyes; and at once he seemed to see Irene, in 
a dark street below a church — passing, turning her neck so 
that he caught the gleam of her eyes and her white forehead 
under a little dark hat, which had gold spangles on it and a 
veil hanging down behind. He opened his eyes — so vividly 
he had seen her ! A woman was passing below, but not 
she ! Oh no, there was nothing there ! 



Imogen's frocks for her first season exercised the judgment 
of her mother and the purse of her grandfather all through 
the month of March. With Forsyte tenacity Winifred 
quested for perfection. It took her mind oil the slowly 
approaching rite which would give her a freedom but doubt- 
fully desired; took her mind, too, off her boy and his fast 
approaching departure for a war from which the news re- 
mained disquieting. Like bees busy on summer flowers, or 
bright gadflies hovering and darting over spiky autumn 
blossoms, she and her ' little daughter,' tall nearly as herself 
and with a bust measurement not far inferior, hovered in the 
shops of Regent Street, the establishments of Hanover 
Square and of Bond Street, lost in consideration and the feel 
of fabrics. Dozens of young women of striking deportment 
and peculiar gait paraded before Winifred and Imogen, 
draped in ' creations.' The models — ' Very new, modom; 
quite the latest thing — ' which those two reluctantly 
turned down, would have filled a museum; the models which 
they were obliged to have nearly emptied James' bank. It 
was no good doing things by halves, Winifred felt, in view 
of the need for making this first and sole untarnished season 
a conspicuous success. Their patience in trying the patience 
of those impersonal creatures who swam about before them 
could alone have been displayed by such as were moved by 
faith. It was for Winifred a long prostration before her dear 
goddess Fashion, fervent as a Catholic might make before the 
Virgin; fof Jraogen an experience by no m.eans too un- 



pleasant — she often looked so nice, and flattery was implicit 
everywhere: in a word it was ' amusing.' 

On the afternoon of the 20th of March, having, as it were, 
gutted Skyward's, they had sought refreshment over the way 
at Caramel and Baker's, and, stored with chocolate frothed 
at the top with cream, turned homewards through Berkeley 
Square of an evening touched with spring. Opening the 
door — freshly painted a light olive-green; nothing neglected 
that year to give Imogen a good send-off — Winifred passed 
towards the silver basket to see if anyone had called, and 
suddenly her nostrils twitched. What was that scent ? 

Imogen had taken up a novel sent from the library, and 
stood absorbed. Rather sharply, because of the queer 
feeling in her breast, Winifred said: 

" Take that up, dear, and have a rest before dinner." 

Imogen, still reading, passed up the stairs. Winifred 
heard the door of her room slammed to, and drew a long 
savouring breath. Was it spring tickling her senses — whip- 
ping up nostalgia for her ' clown,' against all wisdom and 
outraged virtue ? A male scent ! A faint reek of cigars and 
lavender-water not smelt since that early autumn night six 
months ago, when she had called him ' the limit.' Whence 
came it, or was it ghost of scent — sheer emanation from 
memory ? She looked round her. Nothing — not a thing, 
no tiniest disturbance of her hall, nor of the dining-room. 
A little day-dream of a scent — illusory, saddening, silly ! 
In the silver basket were new cards, two with ' Mr. and Mrs. 
Polegate Thom,' and one with ' Mr. Polegate Thom ' 
thereon; she sniffed them, but they smelled severe. * I 
must be tired,' she thought, ' I'll go and lie down.' Up- 
stairs the drawing-room was darkened, waiting for some 
hand to give it evening light; and she passed on up to her 
bedroom. This, too, was half-curtained and dim, for it 
was six o'clock. Winifred threw off her coat — that scent 


again ! — then stood, as if shot, transfixed against the bedrail. 
Something dark had risen from the sofa in the far corner. 
A word of — horror — in her family escaped her: "God!" 

" It's I — Monty," said a voice. 

Clutching the bed-raii, Winifred reached up and turned 
the switch of the Hght hanging above her dressing-table. 
He appeared just on the rim of the light's circumference, 
emblazoned from the absence of his watch-chain down to 
boots neat and sooty brown, but — yes ! — split at the toe- 
cap. His chest and face were shadowy. Surely he was thin 
— or was it a trick of the light ? He advanced, lighted now 
from toe-cap to the top of his dark head — surely a little 
grizzled ! His complexion had darkened, sallowed; his 
black moustache had lost boldness, become sardonic; there 
were lines which she did not know about his face. There 
was no pin in his tie. His suit — ah ! — she knew that — but 
how unpressed, unglossy ! She stared again at the toe-cap 
of his boot. Something big and relentless had been ' at 
him,' had turned and twisted, raked and scraped him. And 
she stayed, not speaking, motionless, staring at that crack 
across the toe. 

" Well !" he said, " I got the letter. I'm back." 

Winifred's bosom began to heave. The nostalgia for her 
husband which had rushed up with that scent was struggling 
with a deeper jealousy than any she had felt yet. There he 
was — a dark, and as if harried, shadow of his sleek and brazen 
self ! What force had done this to him — squeezed him like 
an orange to its dry rind ! That woman ! 

" I'm back," he said again. " I've had a beastly time. By 
God ! I came steerage. I've got nothing but what I stand 
up in, and that bag." 

" And who has the rest ?" cried Winifred, suddenly alive. 
" How dared you come ? You knew it was just for divorce 
that you got that letter to come back. Don't touch me !" 



They held each to the rail of the big bed where they had 
spent so many years of nights together. Many times, yes — 
many times she had wanted him back. But now that he 
had come she was filled with this cold and deadly resent- 
ment. He put his hand up to his moustache; but did not 
frizz and twist it in the old familiar way, he just pulled it 

" Gad !" he said : " If you knew the time I've had !" 

" I'm glad I don't !" 

" Are the kids all right ?" 

Winifred nodded. " How did you get in ?" 

" With my key." 

" Then the maids don't know. You can't stay here, 

He uttered a little sardonic laugh. 

" Where then?" 

" Anywhere." 

" Well, look at me ! That — that damned " 

" If you mention her,''^ cried Winifred, " I go straight out 
to Park Lane and I don't come back." 

Suddenly he did a simple thing, but so uncharacteristic 
that it moved her. He shut his eyes. It was as if he had 
said: ' All right ! I'm dead to the world !' 

"You can have a room for the night," she said; "your 
things are still here. Only Imogen is at home." 

He leaned back against the bed-rail. " Well, it's in your 
hands," and his own made a writhing movement. " I've 
been through it. You needn't hit too hard — it isn't worth 
while. I've been frightened; I've been frightened, Freddie." 

That old pet name, disused for years and years, sent a 
shiver through Winifred. 

' What am I to do with him?' she thought. ' What in 
God's name am I to do with him ?' 

'' Got a cigarette ?" 


She gave him one from a little box she kept up there for 
when she couldn't sleep at night, and lighted it. With that 
action the matter-of-fact side of her nature came to life again. 

" Go and have a hot bath. I'll put some clothes out for 
you in the dressing-room. We can talk later." 

He nodded, and fixed his eyes on her — they looked half- 
dead, or was it that the folds in the lids had become heavier ? 

* He's not the same,' she thought. He would never be 
quite the same again ! But what would he be ? 

" All right !" he said, and went towards the door. He 
even moved differently, like a man who has lost illusion 
and doubts whether it is worth while to move at all. 

When he was gone, and she heard the water in the bath 
running, she put out a complete set of garments on the bed 
in his dressing-room, then went downstairs and fetched up 
the biscuit box and whisky. Putting on her coat again, 
and listening a moment at the bathroom door, she went 
down and out. In the street she hesitated. Past seven 
o'clock ! Would Soames be at his Club or at Park Lane ? 
She turned towards the latter. Back ! Soames had always 
feared it — she had sometimes hoped it. Back ! So like 
him — clown that he was — with this : ' Here we are again !' 
to make fools of them all — of the Law, of Soames, of herself ! 
Yet to have done with the Law, not to have that murky 
cloud hanging over her and the children! What a relief! Ah! 
but how to accept his return ? That ' woman ' had ravaged 
him, taken from him passion such as he had never bestowed 
on herself, such as she had not thought him capable of. 
There was the sting ! That selfish, blatant ' clown ' of hers, 
whom she herself had never really stirred, had been swept 
and ungarnished by another woman ! Insulting ! Too 
insulting ! Not right, not decent to take him back ! And 
yet she had asked for him; the Law perhaps would make her 
now I He was as much her husband as ever— she had put 


herself out of court ! And all he wanted, no doubt, was 
money — to keep him in cigars and lavender-water ! That 
scent ! ' After all, I'm not old,' she thought, ' not old yet !' 
But that woman who had reduced him to those words: 
' I've been through it. I've been frightened — frightened, 
Freddie !' She neared her father's house, driven this way 
and that, while all the time the Forsyte undertow was 
drawing her to deep conclusion that after all he was her 
property, to be held against a robbing world. And so she 
came to James'. 

"Mr. Soames ? In his room? I'll go up; don't say 
I'm here." 

Her brother was dressing. She found him before a 
mirror, tying a black bow with an air of despising its ends. 

'* Hullo !" he said, contemplating her in the glass; 
" what's wrong ?" 

" Monty !" said Winifred stonily, 

Soames spun round. " What !" 

" Back !" 

" Hoist," muttered Soames, " with our own petard. Why 
the deuce didn't you let me try cruelty ? I always knew it 
was too much risk this way." 

" Oh ! Don't talk about that ! What shall I do ?" 

Soames answered, with a deep, deep sound. 

" Well ?" said Winifred impatiently. 

" What has he to say for himself ?" 

" Nothing. One of his boots is split across the toe." 

Soames stared at her. 

" Ah !" he said, " of course ! On his beam ends. So — 
it begins again ! This'll about finish father." 

" Can't we keep it from him ?" 

" Impossible. He has an uncanny flair for anything that's 

And he brooded, with fingers hooked into his blue silk 


braces. " There ought to be some way in law," he muttered, 
" to make him safe." 

" No," cried Winifred, " I won't be made a fool of again; 
I'd sooner put up with him." 

The two stared at each other. Their hearts were full 
of feeling, but they could give it no expression — Forsytes 
that they were. 

" Where did you leave him ?" 

" In the bath," and Winifred gave a little bitter laugh. 
" The only thing he's brought back is lavender-water." 

"Steady!" said Soames; "you're thoroughly upset. 
I'll go back with you." 

" What's the use ?" 

" We ought to make terms with him." 

" Terms ! It'll always be the same. When he recovers — 
cards and betting, drink and !" She was silent, remem- 
bering the look on her husband's face. The burnt child — 
the burnt child ! Perhaps ! 

" Recovers ?" replied Soames: " Is he ill ?" 

" No ; burnt out ; that's all." 

Soames took his waistcoat from a chair and put it on, he 
took his coat and got into it, he scented his handkerchief 
with eau-de-Cologne, threaded his watch-chain, and said: 
" We haven't any luck." 

And in the midst of her own trouble Winifred was sorry 
for him, as if in that little saying he had revealed deep 
trouble of his own. 

" I'd like to see mother," she said. 

" She'll be with father in their room. Come down 
quietly to the study. I'll get her." 

Winifred stole down to the little dark study, chiefly 
remarkable for a Canaletto too doubtful to be placed else- 
where, and a fine collection of Law Reports unopened for 
many years. Here she stood, with her back to maroon- 


coloured curtains close-drawn, staring at the empty grate, 
till her mother came in followed by Soames. 

"Oh! my poor dear!" said Emily: "How miserable 
you look in here ! This is too bad of him, really !" 

As a family they had so guarded themselves from the 
expression of all unfashionable emotion that it was impossible 
to go up and give her daughter a good hug. But there 
was comfort in her cushioned voice, and her still dimpled 
shoulders under some rare black lace. Summoning pride 
and the desire not to distress her mother, Winifred said in 
her most off-hand voice: 

" It's all right. Mother; no good fussing." 

" I don't see," said Emily, looking at Soames, " why 
Winifred shouldn't tell him that she'll prosecute him if he 
doesn't keep off the premises. He took her pearls; and if 
he's not brought them back, that's quite enough." 

Winifred smiled. They would all plunge about with 
suggestions of this and that, but she knew already what she 
would be doing, and that was — nothing. The feeling that, 
after all, she had won a sort of victory, retained her property, 
was every moment gaining ground in her. No ! if she wanted 
to punish him, she could do it at home without the world 

" Well," said Emily, " come into the dining-room com- 
fortably — you must stay and have dinner with us. Leave it 
to me to tell your father." And, as Winifred moved towards 
the door, she turned out the light. Not till then did they 
see the disaster in the corridor. 

There, attracted by light from a room never lighted, James 
was standing with his dun-coloured camel-hair shawl folded 
about him, so that his arms were not free and his silvered 
head looked cut off from his fashionably trousered legs as if by 
an expanse of desert. He stood, inimitably stork-like, with an 
expression as if he saw before him a frog too large to swallow. 


" What's all this ?" he said. " Tell your father ? You 
never tell me anything." 

The moment found Emily without reply. It was Winifred 
who went up to him, and, laying one hand on each of his 
swathed, helpless arms, said: 

" Monty's not gone bankrupt. Father. He's only come 

They all three expected something serious to happen, and 
were glad she had kept that grip of his arms, but they did not 
know the depth of root in that shadowy old Forsyte. Some- 
thing wry occurred about his shaven mouth and chin, some- 
thing scratchy between those long silvery whiskers. Then 
he said with a sort of dignity: " He'll be the death of me. 
I knew how it would be." 

" You mustn't worry, Father," said Winifred calmly. 
" I mean to make him behave." 

" Ah !" said James. " Here, take this thing off, I'm hot." 
They unwound the shawl. He turned, and walked firmly 
to the dining-room. 

" I don't want any soup," he said to Warmson, and sat 
down in his chair. They all sat down too, Winifred still 
in her hat, while Warmson laid the fourth place. When he 
left the room, James said: " What's he brought back?" 

" Nothing, Father." 

James concentrated his eyes on his own image in a table- 
spoon. " Divorce !" he muttered; " rubbish ! What was 
I about ? I ought to have paid him an allowance to stay 
out of England. Soames ! you go and propose it to him." 

It seemed so right and simple a suggestion that even 
Winifred was surprised when she said : " No, I'll keep 
him now he's back; he must just behave — that's all." 

They all looked at her. It had always been known that 
Winifred had pluck. 

" Out there !" said James elliptically, " who knows what 


cut-throats ! You look for his revolver ! Don't go to bed 
without. You ought to have Warmson to sleep in the house. 
I'll see him myself to-morrow." 

They were touched by this declaration, and Emily said 
comfortably: " That's right, James, we won't have any 

" Ah !" muttered James darkly, " I can't tell." 

The advent of Warmson with fish diverted conversation. 

When, directly after dinner, Winifred went over to kiss 
her father good-night, he looked up with eyes so full of 
question and distress that she put all the comfort she could 
into her voice. 

" It's all right, Daddy, dear; don't worry. I shan't need 
anyone — he's quite bland, I shall only be upset if you worry. 
Good- night, bless you !" 

James repeated the words, " Bless you !" as if he did not 
quite know what they meant, and his eyes followed her to 
the door. 

She reached home before nine, and went straight upstairs. 

Dartie was lying on the bed in his dressing-room, fully 
re-dressed in a blue serge suit and pumps; his arms were 
crossed behind his head, and an extinct cigarette drooped 
from his mouth. 

Winifred remembered ridiculously the flowers in her 
window- boxes after a blazing summer day; the way they lay, 
or rather stood — parched, yet rested by the sun's retreat. 
It was as if a little dew had come already on her burnt-up 

He said apathetically: " I suppose you've been to Park 
Lane. How's the old man ?" 

Winifred could not help the bitter answer: " Not dead." 

He winced, actually he winced. 

" Understand, Monty," she said, " I will not have him 
worried. If you aren't going to behave yourself, you may 
go back, you may go anywhere. Have you had dinner ?" 


" No." 

" Would you like some ?" 

He shrugged his shoulders. 

" Imogen offered me some. I didn't want any." 

Imogen ! In the plenitude of emotion Winifred had 
forgotten her. 

" So you've seen her ? What did she say ?" 

" She gave me a kiss." 

With mortification Winifred saw his dark sardonic face 
relaxed. ' Yes !' she thought, ' he cares for her, not for me 
a bit.' 

Dartie's eyes were moving from side to side. 

" Does she know about me ?" he said. 

It flashed through Winifred that here was the weapon she 
needed. He minded their knowing ! 

" No. Val knows. The others don't ; they only know 
you went away." 

She heard him sigh with relief. 

" But they shall know," she said firmly, " if you give me 


" All right !" he muttered, " hit me ! I'm down !" 
Winifred went up to the bed. " Look here, Monty ! I 
don't want to hit you. I don't want to hurt you. I shan't 
allude to anything. I'm not going to worry. What's the 
use ?" She was silent a moment. " I can't stand any more, 
though, and I won't ! You'd better know. You've made 
me suffer. But I used to be fond of you. 'For the sake of 

that " She met the heavy-lidded gaze of his brown eyes 

with the downward stare of her green-grey eyes ; touched 
his hand suddenly, turned her back, and went into her room. 
She sat there a long time before her glass, fingering her 
rings, thinking of this subdued dark man, almost a stranger 
to her, on the bed in the other room; resolutely not ' worry- 
ing ', but gnawed by jealousy of what he had been through, 
and now and again just visited by pity. 



SoAMES doggedly let the spring come — no easy task for one 
conscious that time was flying, his birds in the bush no 
nearer the hand, no issue from the web anywhere visible. 
Mr. Polteed reported nothing, except that his watch went 
on — costing a lot of money. Val and his cousin were gone 
to the war, whence came news more favourable; Dartie was 
behaving himself so far; James had retained his health; 
business prospered almost terribly — there was nothing to 
worry Soames except that he was ' held up,' could take no 
step in any direction. 

He did not exactly avoid Soho, for he could not afford to 
let them think that he had ' piped off,' as James would have 
put it — he might want to ' pipe on ' again at any minute. 
But he had to be so restrained and cautious that he would 
often pass the door of the Restaurant Bretagne without 
going in, and wander out of the purlieus of that region 
which always gave him the feeling of having been possessively 

He wandered thus one May night into Regent Street and 
the most amazing crowd he had ever seen: a shrieking, 
whistling, dancing, jostling, grotesque and formidably jovial 
crowd, with false noses and mouth-organs, penny whistles 
and long feathers, every appanage of idiocy, as it seemed to 
him. Mafeking ! Of course, it had been relieved ! Good ! 
But was that an excuse ? Who were these people, what were 
they, where had they come from into the West End ? His 
face was tickled, his ears whistled into. Girls cried: ' Keep 



your hair on, stucco !' A youth so knocked off his top-hat 
that he recovered it with difficulty. Crackers were exploding 
beneath his nose, between his feet. He was bewildered, 
exasperated, offended. This stream of people came from 
every quarter, as if impulse had unlocked flood-gates, let flow 
waters of whose existence he had heard, perhaps, but believed 
in never. This, then, was the populace, the innumerable 
living negation of gentility and Forsyteism. This was — 
egad ! — Democracy ! It stank, yelled, was hideous ! In 
the East End, or even Soho, perhaps — but here in Regent 
Street, in Piccadilly ! What were the police about ! In 
1900, Soames, with his Forsyte thousands, had never seen 
the cauldron with the lid off; and now looking into it, could 
hardly believe his scorching eyes. The whole thing was 
unspeakable ! These people had no restraint, they seemed 
to think him fu^ny; such swarms of them, rude, coarse, 
laughing — and what laughter ! Nothing sacred to them ! 
He shouldn't be surprised if they began to break windows. 
In Pall Mall, past those august dwellings, to enter which 
people paid sixty pounds, this shrieking, whistling, dancing 
dervish of a crowd was swarming. From the Club windows 
his own kind were looking out on them with regulated 
amusement. They didn't realise ! Why, this was serious 
— might come to anything ! The crowd was cheerful, but 
some day they would come in different mood ! He remem- 
bered there had been a mob in the late eighties, when he 
was at Brighton; they had smashed things and made 
speeches. But more than dread, he felt a deep surprise. 
They were hysterical — it wasn't English ! And all about 
the relief of a little town as big as — Watford, six thousand 
miles away. Restraint, reserve ! Those qualities to him 
more dear almost than life, those indispensable attributes of 
property and culture, where were they ? It wasn't English ! 
No, it wasn't English ! So Soames brooded, threading 


his way on. It was as if he had suddenly caught sight of 
someone cutting the covenant ' for quiet possession ' out 
of his legal documents; or of a monster lurking and stalking 
out in the future, casting its shadow before. Their want of 
stolidity, their want of reverence ! It was like discovering 
that nine-tenths of the people of England were foreigners. 
And if that were so — then, anything might happen ! 

At Hyde Park Corner he ran into George Forsyte, very 
sunburnt from racing, holding a false nose in his hand. 

" Hallo, Soames !" he said; " have a nose !" 

Soames responded with a pale smile. 

" Got this from one of these sportsmen," went on George, 
who had evidently been dining; " had to lay him out — for 
trying to bash my hat. I say, one of these days we shall have 
to fight these chaps, they're getting so damned cheeky — 
all radicals and socialists. They want our goods. You tell 
Uncle James that, it'll make him sleep." 

' In vino Veritas^'' thought Soames, but he only nodded, 
and passed on up Hamilton Place. There was but a trickle 
of roysterers in Park Lane, not very noisy. And looking up 
at the houses he thought: ' After all, we're the backbone of 
the country. They won't upset us easily. Possession's nine 
points of the law.' 

But, as he closed the door of his father's house behind him, 
all that queer outlandish nightmare in the streets passed out 
of his mind almost as completely as if, having dreamed it, 
he had awakened in the warm clean morning comfort of his 
spring-mattressed bed. 

Walking into the centre of the great empty drawing- 
room, he stood still. 

A wife ! Somebody to talk things over with. One had a 
right ! Damn it ! One had a right ! 




SoAMF.s had travelled little. Aged nineteen he had made 
the ' petty tour ' with his father, mother, and Winifred — 
Brussels, the Rhine, Switzerland, and home by way of Paris. 
Aged twenty-seven, just when he began to take interest in 
pictures, he had spent live hot weeks in Italy, looking into 
the Renaissance — not so much in it as he had been led to 
expect — and a fortnight in Paris on his way back, looking 
into himself, as became a Forsyte surrounded by people so 
strongly self-centred and ' foreign ' as the French. His 
knowledge of their language being derived from his public 
school, he did not understand them when they spoke. 
Silence he had found better for all parties; one did not make 
a fool of oneself. He had disliked the look of the men's 
clothes, the closed-in cabs, the theatres which looked like 
beehives, the Galleries which smelled of beeswax. He was 
too cautious and too shy to explore that side of Paris supposed 
by Forsytes to constitute its attraction under the rose; 
and as for a collector's bargain — not one to be had ! As 
Nicholas might have put it — they were a grasping lot. He 
had come back uneasy, saying Paris was overrated. 

When, therefore, in June of 1900, he went to Paris, it was 
but his third attempt on the centre of civilisation. This 
time, however, the mountain was going to Mahomet; for he 
felt by now more deeply civilised than Paris, and perhaps he 
really was. Moreover, he had a definite objective. This 
was no mere genuflexion to a shrine of taste and immorality, 
byt the prpgecution of his own legitimate affairs. He went, 



indeed, because things were getting past a joke. The watch 
went on and on, and — nothing — nothing ! Jolyon had 
never returned to Paris, and no one else was ' suspect !' 
Busy with new and very confidential matters, Soames was 
realising more than ever how essential reputation is to a 
solicitor. But at night and in his leisure moments he was 
ravaged by the thought that time was always flying and 
money flowing in, and his own future as much ' in irons ' as 
ever. Since Mafeking night he had become aware that a 
* young fool of a doctor ' was hanging round Annette. 
Twice he had come across him — a cheerful young fool, not 
more than thirty. Nothing annoyed Soames so much as 
cheerfulness — an indecent, extravagant sort of quality, 
which had no relation to facts. The mixture of his desires 
and hopes was, in a word, becoming torture; and lately the 
thought had come to him that perhaps Irene knew she was 
being shadowed. It was this which finally decided him to 
go and see for himself; to go and once more try to break 
down her repugnance, her refusal to make her own and his 
path comparatively smooth once more. If he failed again — 
well, he would see what she did with herself, anyway ! 

He went to an hotel in the Rue Caumartin, highly recom- 
mended to Forsytes, where practically nobody spoke French. 
He had formed no plan. He did not want to startle her; 
yet must contrive that she had no chance to evade him by 
flight. And next morning he set out in bright weather. 

Paris had an air of gaiety, a sparkle over its star-shape 
which almost annoyed Soames. He stepped gravely, his 
nose lifted a little sideways in real curiosity. He desired now 
to understand things French. Was not Annette French ? 
There was much to be got out of his visit, if he could only 
get it. In this laudable mood and the Place de la Concorde 
he was nearly run down three times. He came on the 
' Cours la Reine,' where Irene's hotel was situated, almost 


too suddenly, for he had not yet fixed on his procedure. 
Crossing over to the river side, he noted the building, white 
and cheerful-looking, with green sunblinds, seen through a 
screen of plane-tree leaves. And, conscious that it would 
be far better to meet her casually in some open place than to 
risk a call, he sat down on a bench whence he could watch 
the entrance. It was not quite eleven o'clock, and improb- 
able that she had yet gone out. Some pigeons were strutting 
and preening their feathers in the pools of sunlight between 
the shadows of the plane-trees. A workman in a blue blouse 
passed, and threw them crumbs from the paper which con- 
tained his dinner. A ' bonne ' coiffed with ribbon shep- 
herded two little girls with pigtails and frilled drawers. 
A cab meandered by, whose cocher wore a blue coat and a 
black-glazed hat. To Soames a kind of affectation seemed 
to cling about it all, a sort of picturesqueness which was out 
of date. A theatrical people, the French ! He lit one of 
his rare cigarettes, with a sense of injury that Fate should 
be casting his life into outlandish waters. He shouldn't 
wonder if Irene quite enjoyed this foreign life; she had never 
been properly English — even to look at ! And he began 
considering which of those windows could be hers under the 
green sunblinds. How could he word what he had come to 
say so that it might pierce the defence of her proud obsti- 
nacy ? He threw the fag-end of his cigarette at a pigeon, 
with the thought: ' I can't stay here for ever twiddling my 
thumbs. Better give it up and call on her in the late after- 
noon.' But he still sat on, heard twelve strike, and then 
half-past. ' I'll wait till one,' he thought, ' while I'm about 
it.' But just then he started up, and shrinkingly sat down 
again. A woman had come out in a cream-coloured frock, 
and was moving away under a fawn-coloured parasol. Irene 
herself ! He waited till she was too far away to recognise 

him, then set out after her. She was strolling as though she 



had no particular objective; moving, if he remembered 
rightly, toward the Bois de Boulogne. For half an hour at 
least he kept his distance on the far side of the way till she 
had passed into the Bois itself. Was she going to meet 
someone after all ? Some confounded Frenchman — one of 
those ' Bel Ami ' chaps, perhaps, who had nothing to do but 
hang about women — for he had read that book with diffi- 
culty and a sort of disgusted fascination. He followed 
doggedly along a shady alley, losing sight of her now and 
then when the path curved. And it came back to him how, 
long ago, one night in Hyde Park he had slid and sneaked 
from tree to tree, from seat to scat, hunting blindly, ridicu- 
lously, in burning jealousy for her and young Bosinney. The 
path bent sharply, and, hurrying, he came on her sitting in 
front of a small fountain — a little green-bronze Niobe veiled 
in hair to her slender hips, gazing at the pool she had wept. 
He came on her so suddenly that he was past before he could 
turn and take off his hat. She did not start up. She had 
always had great self-command — it was one of the things he 
most admired in her, one of his greatest grievances against 
her, because he had never been able to tell what she was 
thinking. Had she realised that he was following ? Her 
self-possession made him angry; ahd, disdaining to explain his 
presence, he pointed to the mournful little Niobe, and said: 

" That's rather a good thing." 

He could see, then, that she was struggling to preserve 
her composure. 

" I didn't want to startle you ; is this one of your haunts ?" 

" Yes." 

" A little lonely." As he spoke, a lady, strolling by, 
paused to looked at the fountain and passed on. 

Irene's eyes followed her. 

" No," she said, prodding the ground with her parasol, 
*' never lonely. One has always one's shadow." 


Soames understood; and, looking at her hard, he 
exclaimed : 

" Well, it's your own fault. You can be free of it at any 
moment. Irene, come back to me, and be free." 
Irene laughed. 

" Don't !" cried Soames, stamping his foot; "it's inhuman. 
Listen ! Is there any condition I can make which will bring 
you back to me ? If I promise you a separate house — and 
just a visit now and then ?" 

Irene rose, something wild suddenly in her face and 

" None ! None ! None ! You may hunt me to the 
grave. I will not come." 

Outraged and on edge, Soames recoiled. 
" Don't make a scene !" he said sharply. And they both 
stood motionless, staring at the little Niobe, whose greenish 
flesh the sunlight was burnishing. 

" That's your last word, then," muttered Soames, clenching 
his hands; " you condemn us both." 

Irene bent her head. " I can't come back. Good- 
bye !" 
A feeling of monstrous injustice flared up in Soames. 
" Stop !" he said, " and listen to me a moment. You 
gave me a sacred vow — you came to me without a penny. 
You had all I could give you. You broke that vow without 
cause, you made me a by-word; you refused me a child; 
you've left me in prison; you — you still move me so that 
I want you — I want you. Well, what do you think of 
yourself ?" 

Irene turned, her face was deadly pale, her eyes burning 

" God made me as I am," she said; " wicked if you like — 
but not so wicked that I'll give myself again to a man I 


The sunlight gleamed on her hair as she moved away, and 
seemed to lay a caress all down her clinging cream-coloured 

Soames could neither speak nor move. That word ' hate ' 
— so extreme, so primitive — made all the Forsyte in him 
tremble. With a deep imprecation he strode away from 
where she had vanished, and ran almost into the arms of the 
lady sauntering back — the fool, the shadowing fool ! 

He was soon dripping with perspiration, in the depths of 
the Bois. 

' Well,' he thought, ' I need have no consideration for 
her now; she has not a grain of it for me. I'll show her this 
very day that she's my wife still.' 

But on the way home to his hotel, he was forced to the con- 
clusion that he did not know what he meant. One could not 
make scenes in public, and short of scenes in public what was 
there he could do ? He almost cursed his own thin-skinned- 
ness. She might deserve no consideration; but he — alas ! 
deserved some at his own hands. And sitting lunchless in 
the hall of his hotel, with tourists passing every moment, 
Baedeker in hand, he was visited by black dejection. In 
irons ! His whole life, with every natural instinct and every 
decent yearning gagged and fettered, and all because Fate 
had driven him seventeen years ago to set his heart upon 
this woman — so utterly, that even now he had no real heart 
to set on any other ! Cursed was the day he had met her, 
and his eyes for seeing in her anything but the cruel Venus 
she was ! And yet, still seeing her with the sunlight on the 
clinging China crepe of her gown, he uttered a little groan, 
so that a tourist who was passing, thought: ' Man in pain ! 
Let's see ! what did I have for lunch ?' 

iLater, in front of a caf6 near the Opera, over a glass of 
cold tea with lemon and a straw in it, he took the malicious 
resolution to go and dine at her hotel. If she were there, 


he would speak to her; if she were not, he would leave a note. 
He dressed carefully, and wrote as follows: 

" Your idyll with that feUuw Jolyon Forsyte is known to 
me at all events. If you pursue it, understand that I will 
leave no stone unturned to make things unbearable for him. 

"S. F. 


He sealed this note but did not address it, refusing to 
write the maiden name which she had impudently resumed, 
or to put the word Forsyte on the envelope lest she should 
tear it up unread. Then he went out, and made his way 
through the glowing streets, abandoned to evening pleasure- 
seekers. Entering her hotel, he took his seat in a far corner 
of the dining-room whence he could see all entrances and 
exits. She was not there. He ate little, quickly, watch- 
fully. She did not come. He lingered in the lounge over 
his coffee, drank two liqueurs of brandy. But still she did 
not come. He went over to the key board and examined 
the names. Number twelve, on the first floor ! And he 
determined to take the note up himself. He mounted red- 
carpeted stairs, past a little salon; eight — ten — twelve ! 

Should he knock, push the note under, or ? He looked 

furtively round and turned the handle. The door opened, 
but into a little space leading to another door; he knocked 
on that — no answer. The door was locked. It fitted very 
closely to the floor; the note would not go under. He thrust 
it back into his pocket, and stood a moment listening. He 
felt somehow certain that she was not there. And suddenly 
he came away, passing the little salon down the stairs. He 
stopped at the bureau and said: 

" Will you kindly see that Mrs. Heron has this 
note ?" 

" Madame Heron left to-day, Monsieur — suddenly, about 
three o'clock. There was illness in her family." 


Soames compressed his lips. " Oh !" he said; " do you 
know her address ?" 

" Non, Monsieur. England, I think." 

Soames put the note back into his pocket and went out. 
He hailed an open horse-cab which was passing. 

" Drive me anywhere !" 

The man, who, obviously, did not understand, smiled, 
and waved his whip. And Soames was borne along in that 
little yellow-wheeled Victoria all over star-shaped Paris, 
with here and there a pause, and the question, " C^est far 
ici. Monsieur .^" " No, go on," till the man gave it up in 
despair, and the yellow-wheeled chariot continued to roll 
between the tall, flat-fronted shuttered houses and plane- 
tree avenues — a little Flying Dutchman of a cab. 

'Like my life,' thought Soames. * without object, on'^and 



SoAMFS returned to England the following day, and on the 
third morning received a visit from Mr, Polteed, who wore 
a flower and carried a brown billycock hat. Soames motioned 
him to a seat. 

" The news from the war is not so bad, is it ?" said 
Mr. Polteed. " I hope I see you well, sir." 

" Thanks ! quite." 

Mr. Polteed leaned forward, smiled, opened his hand, 
looked into it, and said softly: 

" I think we've done your business for you at last." 

" What ?" ejaculated Soames. 

" Nineteen reports quite suddenly what I think we shall 
be justified in calling conclusive evidence," and Mr. Polteed 

" Well ?" 

" On the loth instant, after witnessing an interview 
between 17 and a party, earlier in the day, 19 can swear 
to having seen him coming out of her bedroom in the 
hotel about ten o'clock in the evening. With a little 
care in the giving of the evidence that will be enough, 
especially as 17 has left Paris — no doubt with the party 
in question. In fact, they both slipped off, and we 
haven't got on to them again, yet; but we shall — we shall. 
She's worked hard under very difficult circumstances, and 
I'm glad she's brought it off at last." Mr. Polteed took out 
a cigarette, tapped its end against the table, looked at Soames, 
and put it back. The expression on his client's face was not 



" Who is this new person ?" said Soames abruptly. 

" That we don't know. She'll swear to the fact, and she's 
got his appearance pat." 

Mr. Polteed took out a letter, and began reading: 

" 'Middle-aged, medium height, blue dittoes in afternoon, 
evening dress at night, pale, dark hair, small dark moustache, 
flat cheeks, good chin, grey eyes, small feet, guilty look '" 

Soames rose and went to the window. He stood there in 
sardonic fury. Congenital idiot — spidery congenital idiot ! 
Seven months at fifteen pounds a week — to be tracked down 
as his own wife's lover ! Guilty look ! He threw the window 

" It's hot," he said, and came back to his seat. Crossing 
his knees, he bent a supercilious glance on Mr. Polteed. 

" I doubt if that's quite good enough," he said, drawling 
the words, " with no name or address. I think you may let 
that lady have a rest, and take up our friend 47 at this 
end." Whether Polteed had spotted him he could not 
tell; but he had a mental vision of him in the midst of 
his cronies dissolved in inextinguishable laughter. 'Guilty 
look !' Damnation ! 

Mr. Polteed said in a tone of urgency, almost of pathos: 
" I assure you we have put it through sometimes on less than 
that. It's Paris, you know. Attractive woman living alone. 
Why not risk it, sir ? We might screw it up a peg." 

Soames had sudden insight. The fellow's professional 
zeal was stirred: ' Greatest triumph of my career; got a man 
his divorce through a visit to his own wife's bedroom ! 
Something to talk of there, when I retire !' And for one 
wild moment he thought: ' Why not ?' After all, hundreds 
of men of medium height had small feet and a guilty 
look ! 

" I'm not authorised to take any risk !" he said shortly. 

Mr. Polteed looked up. 


" Pity," he said, " quite a pity ! That other affair 
seemed very costive." 

Soames rose. 

" Never mind that. Please watch 47, and take care 
not to find a mare's nest. Good-morning !" 

Mr. Polteed's eye glinted at the words ' mare's nest !' 

" Very good. You shall be kept informed." 

And Soames was alone again. The spidery, dirty, ridicu- 
lous business ! Laying his arms on the table, he leaned his 
forehead on them. Full ten minutes he rested thus, till 
a managing clerk roused him with the draft prospectus of a 
new issue of shares, very desirable, in Manifold and Topping's. 
That afternoon he left work early and made his way to the 
Restaurant Bretagne. Only Madame Lamotte was in. 
Would Monsieur have tea with her ? 

Soames bowed. 

When they were seated at right angles to each other in the 
little room, he said abruptly: 

" I want a talk with you, Madame.''^ 

The quick lift of her clear brown eyes told him that she 
had long expected such words. 

" I have to ask you something first: That young doctor — 
what's his name ? Is there anything between him and 
Annette ?" 

Her whole personality had become, as it were, like jet — 
clear-cut, black, hard, shining. 

" Annette is young," she said; " so is monsieur le docteur. 
Between young people things move quickly; but Annette 
is a good daughter. Ah ! what a jewel of a nature !" 

The least little smile twisted Soames' lips. 

" Nothing definite, then ?" 

" But definite — no, indeed ! The young man is veree 
nice, but — what would you ? There is no money at 


She raised her willow-patterned tea-cup; Soames did 
the same. Their eyes met. 

" I am a married man," he said, " living apart from my 
wife for many years. I am seeking to divorce her." 

Madame Lamotte put down her cup. Indeed ! What 
tragic things there were ! The entire absence of sentiment 
in her inspired a queer species of contempt in Soames. 

" I am a rich man," he added, fully conscious that the 
remark was not in good taste. " It is useless to say more at 
present, but I think you understand." 

Madame's eyes, so open that the whites showed above 
them, looked at him very straight. 

" Ah ! ca — mais nous avons le temps P^ was all she said. 
" Another little cup ?" Soames refused, and, taking his 
leave, walked westward. 

He had got that off his mind; she would not let Annette 

commit herself with that cheerful young ass until ! 

But what chance of his ever being able to say: ' I'm free.' 
What chance ? The future had lost all semblance of reality. 
He felt like a fly, entangled in cobweb filaments, watching 
the desirable freedom of the air with pitiful eyes. 

He was short of exercise, and wandered on to Kensington 
Gardens, and down Queen's Gate towards Chelsea, Perhaps 
she had gone back to her flat. That at all events he could 
find out. For since that last and most ignominious repulse 
his wounded self-respect had taken refuge again in the 
feeling that she must have a lover. He arrived before the 
little Mansions at the dinner-hour. No need to enquire ! 
A grey-haired lady was watering the flower-boxes in her 
window. It was evidently let. And he walked slowly past 
again, along the river — an evening of clear, quiet beauty, 
all harmony and comfort, except within his heart. 



On the afternoon that Soames crossed to France a cable- 
gram was received by Jolyon at Robin Hill: 

" Your son down with enteric no immediate danger will 
cable again." 

It reached a household already agitated by the imminent 
departure of June, whose berth was booked for the following 
day. She was, indeed, in the act of confiding Eric Cobbley 
and his family to her father's care when the message arrived. 

The resolution to become a Red Cross nurse, taken under 
stimulus of Jolly's enlistment, had been loyally fulfilled 
with the irritation and regret which all Forsytes feel at what 
curtails their individual liberties. Enthusiastic at first 
about the ' wonderfulness ' of the work, she had begun after 
a month to feel that she could train herself so much better 
than others could train her. And if Holly had not insisted 
on following her example, and being trained too, she must 
inevitably have ' cried off,' The departure of Jolly and Val 
with their troop in April had further stiffened her failing 
resolve. But now, on the point of departure, the thought 
of leaving Eric Cobbley, with a wife and two children, adrift 
in the cold waters of an unappreciative world weighed on 
her so that she was still in danger of backing out. The 
reading of that cablegram, with its disquieting reality, 
clinched the matter. She saw herself already nursing Jolly 
— for of course they would let her nurse her own brother ! 
Jolyon — ever wide and doubtful — had no such hope. Poor 



June ! Could any Forsyte of her generation grasp how rude 
and brutal life was ? Ever since he knew of his boy's 
arrival at Cape Town the thought of him had been a kind 
of recurrent sickness in Jolyon. He could not get reconciled 
to the feeling that Jolly was in danger all the time. The 
cablegram, grave though it was, was almost a relief. He was 
now safe from bullets, anyway. And yet — this enteric was 
a virulent disease ! The Times was full of deaths therefrom. 
Why could he not be lying out there in that up-country 
hospital, and his boy safe at home ? The un-Forsytean self- 
sacrifice of his three children, indeed, had quite bewildered 
Jolyon. He would eagerly change places with Jolly, because 
he loved his boy; but no such personal motive was influencing 
them. He could only think that it marked the decline of 
the Forsyte type. 

Late that afternoon Holly came out to him under the old 
oak-tree. She had grown up very much during these last 
months of hospital training away from home. And, seeing 
her approach, he thought: ' She has more sense than June, 
child though she is; more wisdom. Thank God she isn't 
going out.' She had seated herself in the swing, very silent 
and still. ' She feels this,' thought Jolyon, ' as much as I.' 
And, seeing her eyes fixed on him, he said: " Don't take it 
to heart too much, my child. If he weren't ill, he might be 
in much greater danger. " 

Holly got out of the swing. 

" I want to tell you something. Dad. It was through me 
that Jolly enlisted and went out," 

" How's that ?" 

" When you were away in Paris, Val Dartie and I fell in 
love. We used to ride in Richmond Park; we got engaged. 
Jolly found it out, and thought he ought to stop it; so he 
dared Val to enlist. It was all my fault, Dad; and I want to 
go out too. Because if anything happens to either of 


them I should feel awful. Besides, I'm just as much trained 
as June." 

Jolyon gazed at her in a stupefaction'-that^was tinged with 
irony. So this was the answer to the riddle he had been 
asking himself; and his three children were Forsytes after 
all. Surely Holly might have told him all this before ! 
But he smothered the sarcastic sayings on his lips. Tender- 
ness to the young was perhaps the most sacred article of his 
belief. He had got, no doubt, what he deserved. Engaged ! 
So this was why he had so lost touch with her ! And to 
young Val Dartie — nephew of Soames — in the other camp ! 
It was all terribly distasteful. He closed his easel, and set 
his drawing against the tree. 

" Have you told June ?" 

"Yes; she says she'll get me into her cabin somehow. 
It's a single cabin; but one of us could sleep on the floor. If 
you consent, she'll go up now and get permission." 

' Consent ?' thought Jolyon. ' Rather late in the day to 
ask for that !' But again he checked himself. 

" You're too young, my dear; they won't let you." 

" June knows some people that she helped to go to Cape 
Town. If they won't let me nurse yet, I could stay with 
them and go on training there. Let me go. Dad !" 

Jolyon smiled because he could have cried. 

" I never stop anyone from doing anything," he said. 

Holly flung her arms round his neck. 

" Oh ! Dad, you are the best in the world." 

' That means the worst,' thought Jolyon. If he had ever 
doubted his creed of tolerance he did so then. 

" I'm not friendly with Val's family," he said, " and I 
don't know Val, but Jolly didn't like him." 

Holly looked at the distance, and said: 

" I love him." 

" That settles it," said Jolyon dryly, then catching the 


expression on her face, he kissed her, with the thought : ' Is 
anything more pathetic than the faith of the young?' 
Unless he actually forbade her going it was obvious that he 
must make the best of it, so he went up to town with June. 
Whether due to her persistence, or the fact that the official 
they saw was an old school friend of Jolyon's, they obtained 
permission for Holly to share the single cabin. He took 
them to Surbiton station the following evening, and they 
duly slid away from him, provided with money, invalid 
foods, and those letters of credit without which Forsytes do 
not travel. 

He drove back to Robin Hill under a brilliant sky to his 
late dinner, served with an added care by servants trying to 
show him that they sympathised, eaten with an added scru- 
pulousness to show them that he appreciated that sympathy. 
But it was a real relief to get to his cigar on the terrace of 
flag-stones — cunningly chosen by young Bosinney for 
shape and colour — with night closing in around him, so 
beautiful a night, hardly whispering in the trees, and smelling 
so sweet that it made him ache. The grass was drenched 
with dew, and he kept to those flag-stones, up and down, till 
presently it began to seem to him that he was one of three, 
not wheeling, but turning right about at each end, so that 
his father was always nearest to the house, and his son always 
nearest to the terrace edge. Each had an arm lightly 
within his arm; he dared not lift his hand to his cigar lest he 
should disturb them, and it burned away, dripping ash on 
him, till it dropped from his lips, at last, which were getting 
hot. They left him then, and his arms felt chilly. Three 
Jolyons in one Jolyon they had walked ! 

He stood still, counting the sounds — a carriage passing on 
the highroad, a distant train, the dog at Gage's farm, the 
whispering trees, the groom playing on his penny whistle. 
A multitude of stars up there — bright and silent, so far off ! 


No moon as yet ! Just enough light to show him the dark 
flags and swords of the iris flowers along the terrace edge — 
his favourite flower that had the night's own colour on its 
curving crumpled petals. He turned round to the house. 
Big, unlighted, not a soul beside himself to live in all that 
part of it. Stark loneliness ! He could not go on living 
here alone. And yet, so long as there was beauty, why should 
a man feel lonely ? The answer — as to some idiot's riddle 
— was: Because he did. The greater the beauty, the greater 
the loneliness, for at the back of beauty was harmony, and at 
the back of harmony was — union. Beauty could not com- 
fort if the soul were out of it. The night, maddeningly 
lovely, with bloom of grapes on it in starshine, and the breath 
of grass and honey coming from it, he could not enjoy, 
while she who was to him the life of beauty, its embodiment 
and essence, was cut off from him, utterly cut off now, he 
felt, by honourable decency. 

He made a poor fist of sleeping, striving too hard after 
that resignation which Forsytes find difficult to reach, bred 
to their own way and left so comfortably off by their fathers. 
But after dawn he dozed off, and soon was dreaming a 
strange dream. 

He was on a stage with immensely high rich curtains — high 
as the very stars — stretching in a semi-circle from footlights 
to footlights. He himself was very small, a little black 
restless figure roaming up and down; and the odd thing was 
that he was not altogether himself, but Soames as well, so 
that he was not only experiencing but watching. This 
figure of himself and Soames was trying to find a way out 
through the curtains, which, heavy and dark, kept him in. 
Several times he had crossed in front of them before he saw 
with delight a sudden narrow rift — a tall chink of beauty the 
colour of iris flowers, like a glimpse of Paradise, remote, 
ineffable. Stepping quickly forward to pass into it, he 


found the curtains closing before him. Bitterly disappointed 
he — or was it Soames ? — moved on, and there was the chink 
again through the parted curtains, which again closed too 
soon. This went on and on and he never got through 
till he woke with the word " Irene " on his lips. The 
dream disturbed him badly, especially that identification of 
himself with Soames. 

Next morning, finding it impossible to work, he spent 
hours riding Jolly's horse in search of fatigue. And on the 
second day he made up his mind to move to London and 
see if he could not get permission to follow his daughters to 
South Africa. He had just begun to pack the following 
morning when he received this letter: 

" Green Hotel, 

" Richmond. 
''Jmie 13. 
" My dear Jolyon, 

" You will be surprised to see how near I am to you. 
Paris became impossible — and I have come here to be within 
reach of your advice. I would so love to see you again. 
Since you left Paris I don't think I have met anyone I could 
really talk to. Is all well with you and with your boy ? No 
one knows, I think, that I am here at present. 

" Always your friend, 

" Irene." 

Irene within three miles of him ! — and again in flight ! 
He stood with a very queer smile on his lips. This was more 
than he had bargained for ! 

About noon he set out on foot across Richmond Park, 
and as he went along, he thought: ' Richmond Park ! By 
Jove, it suits us Forsytes !' Not that Forsytes lived there — 
nobody lived there save royalty, rangers, and the deer — 
but in Richmond Park Nature was allowed to go so far and 


no further, putting up a brave show of being natural, 
seeming to say: ' Look at my instincts — they are almost 
passions, very nearly out of hand, but not quite, of course; 
the very hub of possession is to possess oneself.' Yes ! 
Richmond Park possessed itself, even on that bright day of 
June, with arrowy cuckoos shifting the tree-points of their 
calls, and the wood doves announcing high summer. 

The Green Hotel, which Jolyon entered at one o'clock, 
stood nearly opposite that more famous hostelry, the Crown 
and Sceptre; it was modest, highly respectable, never out of 
cold beef, gooseberry tart, and a dowager or too, so that a 
carriage and pair was almost always standing before the door. 

In a room draped in chintz so slippery as to forbid all 
emotion, Irene was sitting on a piano stool covered with 
crewel work, playing ' Hansel and Gretel ' out of an old 
score. Above her on a wall, not yet Morris-papered, was 
a print of the Queen on a pony, amongst deer-hounds, 
Scotch caps, and slain stags; beside her in a pot on the 
window-sill was a white and rosy fuschia. The Victorianism 
of the room almost talked; and in her clinging frock Irene 
seemed to Jolyon like Venus emerging from the shell of the 
past century. 

" If the proprietor had eyes," he said, " he would show you 
the door; you have broken through his decorations." Thus 
lightly he smothered up an emotional moment. Having 
eaten cold beef, pickled walnut, gooseberry-tart, and drunk 
stone- bottle ginger- beer, they walked into the Park, and 
light talk was succeeded by the silence Jolyon had dreaded. 

" You haven't told me about Paris," he said at last. 

" No. I've been shadowed for a long time; one gets used 
to that. But then Soames came. By the little Niobe — 
the same story; would I go back to him ?" 

" Incredible !" 

She had spoken without raising her eyes, but she looked 


up now. Those dark eyes clinging to his said as no words 
could have: ' I have come to an end; if you want me, here I 

For sheer emotional intensity had he ever — old as he was 
— passed through such a moment ? 

The words: ' Irene, I adore you !' almost escaped him. 
Then, with a clearness of which he would not have believed 
mental vision capable, he saw Jolly lying with a white face 
turned to a white wall. 

" My boy is very ill out there," he said quietly. 

Irene slipped her arm through his. 

" Let's walk on; I understand." 

No miserable explanation to attempt ! She had under- 
stood ! And they walked on among the bracken, knee-high 
already, between the rabbit-holes and the oak-trees, talking 
of Jolly. He left her two hours later at the Richmond Hill 
Gate, and turned towards home. 

' She knows of my feeling for her, then,' he thought. Of 
course ! One could not keep knowledge of that from such 
a woman ! 



JoLi-Y was tired to death of dreams. They had left him 
now too wan and weak to dream again; left him to lie torpid, 
faintly remembering far-off things; just able to turn his eyes 
and gaze through the window near his cot at the trickle of 
river running by in the sands, at the straggling milk- bush 
of the Karoo beyond. He knew what the Karoo was now, 
even if he had not seen a Boer roll over like a rabbit, or heard 
the whiffle of flying bullets. This pestilence had sneaked 
on him before he had smelled powder. A thirsty day and a 
rash drink, or perhaps a tainted fruit — who knew ? Not he, 
who had not even strength left to grudge the evil thing its 
victory — just enough to know that there were many lying 
here with him, that he was sore with frenzied dreaming; 
just enough to watch that thread of river and be able to 
remember faintly those far-away things. . . . 

The sun was nearly down. It would be cooler soon. He 
would have liked to know the time — to feel his old watch, 
so butter-smooth, to hear the repeater strike. It would 
have been friendly, home-like. He had not even strength 
to remember that the old watch was last wound the day he 
began to lie here. The pulse of his brain beat so feebly 
that faces which came and went, nurse's, doctor's, orderly's, 
were indistinguishable, just one indifferent face; and the 
words spoken about him meant all the same thing, and that 
almost nothing. Those things he used to do, though far 
and faint, were more distinct — walking past the foot of the 
old steps at Harrow ' bill ' — ' Here, sir ! Here, sir !' — 



wrapping boots in the Westminster Gazette, greenish paper, 
shining boots — grandfather coming from somewhere dark — 
a smell of earth — the mushroom house ! Robin Hill ! 
Burying poor old Balthasar in the leaves ! Dad ! Home. . . . 

Consciousness came again with noticing that the river 
had no water in it — someone was speaking too. Want 
anything ? No. What could one want ? Too weak to 
want — only to hear his watch strike. . . . 

Holly ! She wouldn't bowl properly. Oh ! Pitch them 
up ! Not sneaks ! . . . ' Back her. Two and Bow !' He 
was Two ! . . . Consciousness came once more with a sense 
of the violet dusk outside, and a rising blood-red crescent 
moon. His eyes rested on it fascinated; in the long minutes 
of brain-nothingness it went moving up and up. . . . 

" He's going, doctor !" Not pack boots again ? Never ? 
* Mind your form, Two !' Don't cry ! Go quietly — over 
the river — sleep ! . . . Dark ? If somebody would — 
strike — his — watch ! . . . 



A SEALED letter in the handwriting of Mr, Polteed remained 
unopened in Soames' pocket throughout two hours of sus- 
tained attention to the affairs of the ' New Colliery Com- 
pany,' which, declining almost from the moment of old 
Jolyon's retirement from the Chairmanship, had lately run 
down so fast that there was now nothing for it but a ' wind- 
ing-up.' He took the letter out to lunch at his City Club, 
sacred to him for the meals he had eaten there with his 
father in the early seventies, when James used to like him to 
come and see for himself the nature of his future life. 

Here in a remote corner before a plate of roast mutton and 
mashed potato, he read: 

" Dear Sir, 

" In accordance with your suggestion we have duly 
taken the matter up at the other end with gratifying results. 
Observation of 47 has enabled us to locate 17 at the Green 
Hotel, Richmond. The two have been observed to meet 
daily during the past week in Richmond Park. Nothing 
absolutely crucial has so far been notified. But in conjunc- 
tion with what we had from Paris at the beginning of the 
year, I am confident we could now satisfy the Court. We 
shall, of course, continue to watch the matter until we hear 
from you. 

*' Very faithfully yours, 

" Claud Polteed." 


Soames read it through twice and beckoned to the waiter. 

" Take this away; it's cold." 

" Shall I bring you some more, sir ?" 

" No. Get me some coifee in the other room." 

And, paying for what he had not eaten, he went out, 
passing two acquaintances without sign of recognition. 

' Satisfy the Court !' he thought, sitting at a little round 
marble table with the coffee before him. That fellow 
Jolyon ! He poured out his coffee, sweetened and drank it. 
He would disgrace him in the eyes of his own children ! 
And rising, with that resolution hot within him, he found 
for the first time the inconvenience of being his own solicitor. 
He could not treat this scandalous matter in his own office. 
He must commit the soul of his private dignity to a stranger, 
some other professional dealer in family dishonour. Who 
was there he could go to ? Linkman and Larer in Budge 
Row, perhaps — reliable, not too conspicuous, only nodding 
acquaintances. But before he saw them he must see Polteed 
again. But at this thought Soames had a moment of sheer 
M'eakness. To part with his secret ? How find the words ? 
How subject himself to contempt and secret laughter ? Yet, 
after all, the fellow knew already — oh yes, he knew ! And, 
feeling that he must finish with it now, he took a cab into the 
West End. 

In this hot weather the window of Mr. Polteed's room was 
positively open, and the only precaution was a wire gauze, 
preventing the intrusion of flies. Two or three had tried to 
come in, and been caught, so that they seemed to be clinging 
there with the intention of being devoured presently, 
Mr. Polteed, following the direction of his client's eye, rose 
apologetically and closed the window. 

* Posing ass !' thought Soames. Like all who fundamen- 
tally believe in themselves he was rising to the occasion, and, 
with his little sideway smile, he said: " I've had your letter. 


I'm going to act. I suppose you know who the lady you've 
been watching really is ?" 

Mr. Polteed's expression at that moment was a master- 
piece. It so clearly said: ' Well, what do you think ? But 
mere professional knowledge, I assure you — pray forgive it !' 
He made a little half airy movement with his hand, as who 
should say: ' Such things — such things will happen to us !' 

"Very well, then," said Soames, moistening his lips: 
*' there's no need to say more. I'm instructing Linkman 
and Laver of Budge Row to act for me. I don't want to 
hear your evidence, but kindly make your report to them at 
five o'clock, and continue to observe the utmost secrecy." 

Mr. Polteed half closed his eyes, as if to comply at once, 
*' My dear sir," he said. 

" Are you convinced," asked Soames with sudden energy, 
*' that there is enough ?" 

The faintest movement occurred to Mr. Polteed's 

" You can risk it," he murmured; " with what we have, 
and human nature, you can risk it." 

Soames rose. " You will ask for Mr. Linkman. Thanks; 
don't get up." He could not bear Mr. Polteed to slide as 
usual between him and the door. In the sunlight of Picca- 
dilly he wiped his forehead. This had been the worst of it — 
he could stand the strangers better. And he went back into 
the City to do what still lay before him. 

That evening in Park Lane, watching his father dine, he 
was overwhelmed by his old longing for a son — a son, to 
watch him eat as he went down the years, to be taken on h-is 
knee as James on a time had been wont to take him; a son of 
his own begetting, who could understand him because he 
was the same flesh and blood — understand, and comfort him, 
and become more rich and cultured than himself because 
he would start even better off. To get old — like that thin, 


grey, wiry-frail figure sitting there — and be quite alone with 
possessions heaping up around him; to take no interest in 
anything because it had no future and must pass away trom 
him to hands and mouths and eyes for whom he cared no 
jot ! No ! He would force it through now, and be free to 
marry, and have a son to care for him before he grew to be 
like the old old man his father, wistfully watching now his 
sweetbread, now his son. 

In that mood he went up to bed. But, lying warm be- 
tween those fine linen sheets of Emily's providing, he was 
visited by memories and torture. Visions of Irene, almost 
the solid feeling of her body, beset him. Why had he ever 
been fool enough to see her again, and let this flood back on 
him so that it was pain to think of her with that fellow — 
that stealing fellow ! 



His boy was seldom absent from Jolyon's mind in the days 
which followed the first walk with Irene in Richmond Park. 
No further news had come; enquiries at the War Office 
elicited nothing; nor could he expect to hear from June and 
Holly for three weeks at least. In these days he felt how 
insufficient were his memories of Jolly, and what an amateur 
of a father he had been. There was not a single memory in 
which anger played a part; not one reconciliation, because 
there had never been a rupture; nor one heart-to-heart con- 
fidence, not even when Jolly's mother died. Nothing but 
half-ironical affection. He had been too afraid of commit- 
ting himself in any direction, for fear of losing his liberty, or 
interfering with that of his boy. 

Only in Irene's presence had he relief, highly complicated 
by the ever-growing perception of how divided he was 
between her and his son. With Jolly was bound up all that 
sense of continuity and social creed of which he had drunk 
deeply in his youth and again during his boy's public school 
and varsity life — all that sense of not going back on what 
father and son expected of each other. With Irene was 
bound up all his delight in beauty and in Nature. And he 
seemed to know less and less which was the stronger within 
him. From such sentimental paralysis he was rudely 
awakened, however, one afternoon, just as he was starting off 
to Richmond, by a young man with a bicycle and a face oddly 
familiar, who came forward faintly smiling. 

" Mr. Jolyon Forsyte ? Thank you !" Placing an enve- 



lope in Jolyon's hand he wheeled off the path and rode 
away. Bewildered, Jolyon opened it. 

" Admiralty Probate and Divorce, Forsyte v. Forsyte and 
Forsyte !" A sensation of shame and disgust was followed 
by the instant reaction: ' Why ! here's the very thing you 
want, and you don't like it !' But she must have had one 
too; and he must go to her at once. He turned things over 
as he went along. It was an ironical business. For, what- 
ever the Scriptures said about the heart, it took more than 
mere longings to satisfy the law. They could perfectly 
well defend this suit, or at least in good faith try to. But 
the idea of doing so revolted Jolyon. If not her lover in 
deed he was in desire, and he knew that she was ready to 
come to him. Her face had told him so. Not that he 
exaggerated her feeling for him. She had had her grand 
passion, and he could not expect another from her at his age. 
But she had trust in him, affection for him; and must feel 
that he would be a refuge. Surely she would not ask him to 
defend the suit, knowing that he adored her ! Thank 
Heaven she had not that maddening British conscientious- 
ness which refused happiness for the sake of refusing ! She 
must rejoice at this chance of being free — after seventeen 
years of death in life ! As to publicity, the fat was in the 
fire ! To defend the suit would not take away the slur. 
Jolyon had all the proper feeling of a Forsyte whose privacy 
is threatened: If he was to be hung by the Law, by all means 
let it be for a sheep ! Moreover the notion of standing in a 
witness box and swearing to the truth that no gesture, not 
even a word of love had passed between them seemed to him 
more degrading than to take the tacit stigma of being an 
adulterer — more truly degrading, considering the feeling in 
his heart, and just as bad and painful for his children. The 
thought of explaining away, if he could, before a judge and 
twelve average Englishmen, their meetings in Paris, and the 


walks in Richmond Park, horrified him. The brutality and 
hypocritical censoriousness of the whole process; the proba- 
bility that they would not be believed — the mere vision of her, 
whom he looked on as the embodiment of Nature and of 
Beauty, standing there before all those suspicious, gloating 
eyes was hideous to him. No, no ! To defend a suit only 
made a London holiday, and sold the newspapers. A 
thousand times better accept what Soames and the gods 
had sent ! 

' Besides, ' he thought honestly, ' who knows whether, 
even for my boy's sake, I could have stood this state of 
things much longer ? Anyway, her neck will be out of 
chancery at last !' Thus absorbed, he was hardly conscious 
of the heavy heat. The sky had become overcast, purplish, 
with little streaks of white. A heavy heat-drop plashed 
a little star pattern in the dust of the road as he entered 
the Park. ' Phew !' he thought, ' thunder ! I hope she's 
not come to meet me; there's a ducking up there !' But 
at that very minute he saw Irene coming towards the 
Gate. ' We must scuttle back to Robin Hill,' he thought. 

The storm had passed over the Poultry at four o'clock, 
bringing welcome distraction to the clerks in every office. 
Soames was drinking a cup of tea when a note was brought 
in to him: 

" Dear Sir, 

Forsyte v. Forsyte and. Forsyte 

" In accordance with your instructions, we beg to 
inform you that we personally served the respondent and 
co-respondent in this suit to-day, at Richmond, and Robin 
Hill, respectively. 

" Faithfully yours, 



For some minutes Soames stared at that note. Ever since 
he had given those instructions he had been tempted to annul 
them. It was so scandalous, such a general disgrace ! The 
evidence, too, what he had heard of it, had never seemed to 
him conclusive; somehow, he believed less and less that those 
two had gone all lengths. But this, of course, would drive 
them to it; and he suffered from the thought. That fellow 
to have her love, where he had failed ! Was it too late ? 
Now that they had been brought up sharp by service of this 
petition, had he not a lever with which he could force them 
apart f ' But if I don't act at once,' he thought, ' it will be 
too late, now they've had this thing. I'll go and see him ; 
I'll go down !' 

And, sick with nervous anxiety, he sent out for one of the 
* new-fangled ' motor-cabs. It might take a long time to 
run that fellow to ground, and Goodness knew what decision 
they might come to after such a shock ! ' If I were a theat- 
rical ass,' he thought, ' I suppose I should be taking a horse- 
whip or a pistol or something !' He took instead a bundle of 
papers in the case of ' Magentie versus Wake,' intending to 
read them on the way down. He did not even open them, 
but sat quite still, jolted and jarred, unconscious of the 
draught down the back of his neck, or the smell of petrol. 
He must be guided by the fellow's attitude; the great thing 
was to keep his head ! 

London had already begun to disgorge its workers as he 
neared Putney Bridge; the ant-heap was on the move out- 
wards. What a lot of ants, all with a living to get, holding 
on by their eyelids in the great scramble ! Perhaps for the 
first time in his life Soames thought : * / could let go if I 
liked ! Nothing could touch me; I could snap my lingers, 
live as I wished — enjoy myself !' No ! One could not live 
as he had and just drop it all — settle down in Capua, to 
spend the money and reputation he had made. A man's life 


was what he possessed and sought to possess. Only fools 
thought otherwise — fools, and socialists, and libertines ! 

The cab was passing villas now, going a great pace. 
' Fifteen miles an hour, I should think !' he mused; ' this'll 
take people out of town to live !' and he thought of its 
bearing on the portions of London owned by his father — he 
himself had never taken to that form of investment, the 
gambler in him having all the outlet needed in his pictures. 
And the cab sped on, down the hill past Wimbledon Com- 
mon. This interview ! Surely a man of fifty-one with 
grown-up children, and hung on the line, would not be 
reckless. ' He won't want to disgrace the familv,' he 
thought ; ' he was as fond of his father as I am of mine, and 
they were brothers. That woman brings destruction — 
what is it in her ? I've never known.' The cab branched off, 
along the side of a wood, and he heard a late cuckoo calling, 
almost the first he had heard that year. He was now almost 
opposite the site he had originally chosen for his house, and 
which had been so unceremoniously rejected by Bosinney in 
favour of his own choice. He began passing his handker- 
chief over his face and hands, taking deep breaths to give 
him steadiness. ' Keep one's head,' he thought, * keep one's 
head !' 

The cab turned in at the drive which might have been 
his own, and the sound of music met him. He had forgotten 
the fellow's daughters. 

" I may be out again directly," he said to the driver, " or 
I may be kept some time ;" and he rang the bell. 

Following the maid through the curtains into the inner 
hall, he felt relieved that the impact of this meeting would 
be broken by June or Holly, whichever was playing in there, 
so that with complete surprise he saw Irene at the piano, and 
Jolyon sitting in an armchair listening. They both stood 
up. Blood surged into Soames' brain, and all his resolution 


to be guided by this or that left him utterly. The look of 
his farmer forbears — dogged Forsytes down by the sea, from 
* Superior Dosset ' back — grinned out of his face. 

" Very pretty !" he said. 

He heard the fellow murmur: 

" This is hardly the place — we'll go to the study, if you 
don't mind." And they both passed him through the 
curtain opening. In the little room to which he followed 
them, Irene stood by the open window, and the ' fellow ' 
close to her by a big chair. Soames pulled the door to 
behind him with a slam; the sound carried him back all those 
years to the day when he had shut out Jolyon — shut him out 
for meddling with his affairs. 

" Well," he said, " what have you to say for yourselves ?" 

The fellow had the effrontery to smile. 

" What we have received to-day has taken away your right 
to ask. I should imagine you will be glad to have your neck 
out of chancery." 

" Oh !" said Soames; " you think so ! I came to tell you 
that I'll divorce her with every circumstance of disgrace 
to you both, unless you swear to keep clear of each other 
from now on." 

He was astonished at his fluency, because his mind was 
stammering and his hands twitching. Neither of them 
answered; but their faces seemed to him as if con- 

" Well," he said; " you— Irene ?" 

Her lips moved, but Jolyon laid his hand on her arm. 

" Let her alone !" said Soames furiously. " Irene, will 
you swear it ?" 

" No." 

" Oh ! and you ?" 

" Still less." 

" So then you're guilty, are you ?" 


" Yes, guilty." It was Irene speaking in that serene voice, 
with that unreached air which had maddened him so often; 
and, carried beyond himself, he cried: 

" Ton are a devil." 

" Go out ! Leave this house, or I'll do you an injury." 
That fellow to talk of injuries ! Did he know how near his 
throat was to being scragged ? 

" A trustee," he said, " embezzling trust property ! A 
thief, stealing his cousin's wife." 

" Call me what you like. You have chosen your part, we 
have chosen ours. Go out !" 

If he had brought a weapon Soames might have used it at 
that moment. 

" I'll make you pay !" he said. 

" I shall be very happy." 

At that deadly turning of the meaning of his speech by the 
son of him who had nicknamed him ' the man of property,' 
Soames stood glaring. It was ridiculous ! 

There they were, kept from violence by some secret 
force. No blow possible, no words to meet the case. But 
he could not, did not know how to turn and go away. His 
eyes fastened on Irene's face — -the last time he would ever 
see that fatal face — the last time, no doubt ! 

" You," he said suddenly, " I hope you'll treat him as you 
treated me — that's all." 

He saw her wince, and with a sensation not quite triumph, 
not quite relief, he wrenched open the door, passed out 
through the hall, and got into his cab. He lolled against the 
cushion with his eyes shut. Never in his life had he been so 
near to murderous violence, never so thrown away the re- 
straint which was his second nature. He had a stripped and 
naked feeling, as if all virtue had gone out of him — life 
meaningless, mind striking work. Sunlight streamed in on 
him, but he felt cold. The scene he had passed through had 


gone from him already, what was before him would not 
materialise, he could catch on to nothing; and he felt 
frightened, as if he had been hanging over the edge of a 
precipice, as if with another turn of the screw sanity would 
have failed him. ' I'm not fit for it,' he thought; ' I 
mustn't — I'm not fit for it.' The cab sped on, and in 
mechanical procession trees, houses, people passed, but had 
no significance. ' I feel very queer,' he thought; ' I'll take 
a Turkish bath. I — I've been very near to something. It 
won't do.' The cab whirred its way back over the bridge, 
up the Fulham Road, along the Park, 

" To the Hammsm," said Soames. 

Curious that on so warm a summer day, heat should be so 
comforting ! Crossing into the hot room he met George 
Forsyte coming out, red and glistening. 

"Hallo!" said George; "what are you training for? 
You've not got much superfluous." 

Buffoon ! Soames passed him with his sideway smile. 
Lying back, rubbing his skin uneasily for the first signs of 
perspiration, he thought: ' Let them laugh ! I won't feel 
anything ! I can't stand violence ! It's not good for me !' 



SoAMES left dead silence in the little study. 

" Thank you for that good lie," said Jolyon suddenly. 
" Come out — the air in here is not what it was !" 

In front of a long high southerly wall on which were 

trained peach-trees, the two walked up and down in silence. 

Old Jolyon had planted some cupressus-trees, at intervals, 

between this grassy terrace and the dipping meadow full of 

buttercups and ox-eyed daisies; for twelve years they had 

flourished, till their dark spiral shapes had quite a look of 

Italy. Birds fluttered softly in the wet shrubbery; the 

swallows swooped past, with a steel-blue sheen on their 

swift little bodies; the grass felt springy beneath the feet, 

its green refreshed; and butterflies chased each other. 

After that painful scene the quiet of Nature was wonderfully 

poignant. Under the sun-soaked wall ran a narrow strip of 

garden-bed full of mignonette and pansies, and from the 

bees came a low hum in which all other sounds were set — 

the mooing of a cow deprived of her calf, the calling of a 

cuckoo from an elm-tree at the bottom of the meadow. 

Who would have thought that behind them, within ten 

miles, London began — that London of the Forsytes, with its 

wealth, its misery; its dirt and noise; its jumbled stone isles 

of beauty, its grey sea of hideous brick and stucco ? That 

London which had seen Irene's early tragedy, and Jolyon's 

own hard days; that web; that princely workhouse of the 

possessive instinct ! 

And while they walked Jolyon pondered those words: ' I 

273 18 


hope you'll treat him as you treated me.' That would 
depend on himself. Could he trust himself ? Did Nature 
permit a Forsyte not to make a slave of what he adored ? 
Could beauty be confided to him ? Or should she not be 
just a visitor, coming when she would, possessed for moments 
which passed, to return only at her own choosing ? ' We are 
a breed of spoilers !' thought Jolyon, ' close and greedy; the 
bloom of life is not safe with us. Let her come to me as she 
will, when she will, not at all if she will not. Let me be 
just her stand-by, her pcrching-place; never — never her 
cage !' 

She was the chink of beauty in his dream. Was he to pass 
through the curtains now and reach her ? Was the rich 
stuff of many possessions, the close encircling fabric of the 
possessive instinct walling in that little black figure of himself, 
and Soames — was it to be rent so that he could pass through 
into his vision, find there something not of the senses only ? 
* Let me,' he thought, ' ah ! let me only know how not to 
grasp and destroy !' 

But at dinner there were plans to be made. To-night she 
would go back to the hotel, but to-morrow he would take her 
up to London. He must instruct his solicitor — Jack 
Herring. Not a finger must be raised to hinder the process 
of the Law. Damages exemplary, judicial strictures, costs, 
what they liked — let it go through at the first moment, so 
that her neck might be out of chancery at last ! To-morrow 
he would see Herring — they would go and see him together. 
And then — abroad, leaving no doubt, no difficulty about 
evidence, making the lie she had told into the truth. He 
looked round at her; and it seemed to his adoring eyes that 
more than a woman was sitting there. The spirit of uni- 
versal beauty, deep, mysterious, which the old painters, 
Titian, Giorgionc, Botticelli, had known how to capture and 
transfer to the faces of their women — this flying beauty 


seemed to him imprinted on her brow, her hair, her lips, and 
in her eyes. 

* And this is to be mine !' he thought. ' It frightens me !' 
After dinner they went out on to the terrace to have 
coffee. They sat there long, the evening was so lovely, 
watching the summer night come very slowly on. It was 
still warm and the air smelled of lime blossom — early this 
summer. Two bats were flighting with the faint mysterious 
little noise they make. He had placed the chairs in front of 
the study window, and moths flew past to visit the discreet 
light in there. There was no wind, and not a whisper in the 
old oak-tree twenty yards away ! The moon rose from be- 
hind the copse, nearly full; and the two lights struggled, till 
moonlight conquered, changing the colour and quality of 
all the garden, stealing along the flagstones, reaching their 
feet, climbing up, changing their faces. 

"Well," said Jolyon at last, "you'll be so tired; we'd 
better start. The maid will show you Holly's room," and 
he rang the study bell. The maid who came handed him a 
telegram. Watching her take Irene away, he thought: 
* This must have come an hour or more ago, and she didn't 
bring it out to us ! That shows ! Well, we'll be hung for a 
sheep soon !' And, opening the telegram, he read: 

" JoLYON Forsyte, Robin Hill. — Your son passed pain- 
lessly away on June 20th. Deep sympathy " — some name 
unknown to him. 

He dropped it, spun round, stood motionless. The 
moon shone in on him; a moth flew in his face. The 
first day of all that he had not thought almost ceaselessly 
of Jolly. He went blindly towards the window, struck 
against the old armchair — his father's — and sank down on to 
the arm of it. He sat there huddled forward, staring into 
the night. Gone out like a candle flame; far from home, 


from love, all by himself, in the dark ! His boy ! From a 
little chap always so good to him — so friendly ! Twenty 
years old, and cut down like grass — to have no life at all ! 
* I didn't really know him,' he thought, * and he didn't know 
me; but we loved each other. It's only love that matters.' 

To die out there — lonely — wanting them — wanting home ! 
This seemed to his Forsyte heart more painful, more pitiful 
than death itself. No shelter, no protection, no love at the 
last ! And all the deeply rooted clanship in him, the family 
feeling and essential clinging to his own flesh and blood 
which had been so strong in old Jolyon — was so strong in all 
the Forsytes — felt outraged, cut, and torn by his boy's lonely 
passing. Better far if he had died in battle, without time 
to long for them to come to him, to call out for them, per- 
haps, in his delirium ! 

The moon had passed behind the oak-tree now, endowing 
it with uncanny life, so that it seemed watching him — the 
oak-tree his boy had been so fond of climbing, out of which 
he had once fallen and hurt himself, and hadn't cried ! 

The door creaked. He saw Irene come in, pick up the 
telegram and read it. He heard the faint rustle of her dress. 
She sank on her knees close to him, and he forced himself to 
smile at her. She stretched up her arms and drew his head 
down on her shoulder. The perfume and warmth of her 
encircled him; her presence gained slowly his whole being. 



Sweated to serenity, Soames dined at the Remove and turned 
his face toward Park Lane. His father had been unwell 
lately. This would have to be kept from him ! Never till 
that moment had he realised how much the dread of bringing 
James' grey hairs down with sorrow to the grave had counted 
with him; how intimately it was bound up with his own 
shrinking from scandal. His affection for his father, always 
deep, had increased of late yean with the knowledge that 
James looked on him as the real prop of his decline. It 
seemed pitiful that one who had been so careful all his life 
and done so much for the family name — so that it was almost 
a byword for solid, wealthy respectability — should at his last 
gasp have to see it in all the newspapers. This was like 
lending a hand to Death, that final enemy of Forsytes. ' I 
must tell mother,' he thought, ' and when it comes on, we 
must keep the papers from him somehow. He sees hardly 
anyone.' Letting himself in with his latchkey, he was 
beginning to ascend the stairs when he became conscious of 
commotion on the second-floor landing. His mother's 
voice was saying: 

" Now, James, you'll catch cold. Why can't you wait 
quietly ?" 

His father's answering: 

" Wait ? I'm always waiting. Why doesn't he come in ?" 

" You can speak to him to-morrow morning, instead of 
making a guy of yourself on the landing." 

" He'll go up to bed, I shouldn't wonder. I shan't sleep." 



" Now come back to bed, James," 

" Um ! I might die before to-morrow morning for all 
you can tell." 

" You shan't have to wait till to-morrow morning; I'll 
go down and bring him up. Don't fuss !" 

" There you go — always so cock-a-hoop. He mayn't 
come in at all." 

" Well, if he doesn't come in you won't catch him by 
standing out here in your dressing-gown." 

.Soames rounded the last bend and came in sight of his 
father's tall figure wrapped in a brown silk quilted gown, 
stooping over the balustrade above. Light fell on his silvery 
hair and whiskers, investing his head with a sort of halo. 

" Here he is !" he heard him say in a voice which sounded 
injured, and his mother's comfortable answer from the bed- 
room door: 

" That's all right. Come in, and I'll brush your hair." 
James extended a thin, crooked finger, oddly like the beckon- 
ing of a skeleton, and passed through the doorway of his 

' What is it ?' thought Soames. * What has he got hold 
of now ?' 

His father was sitting before the dressing-table sideways to 
the mirror, while Emily slowly passed two silver-backed 
brushes through and through his hair. She would do this 
several times a day, for it had on him something of the effect 
produced on a cat by scratching between its ears. 

" There you are !" he said, " I've been waiting." 

Soames stroked his shoulder, and, taking up a silver button- 
hook, examined the mark on it. 

" Well," he said, " you're looking better." 

James shook his head. 

*' I want to say something. Your mother hasn't heard." 
He announced Emily's ignorance of what he hadn't told her, 
as if it were a grievance. 


" Your father's been in a great state all the evening. I'm 
sure I don't know what about." The faint ' whish-whish ' of 
the brushes continued the soothins: of her voice. 

" No ! you know notliing," said James. " Soames can 
tell me." And, fixing his grey eyes, in which there was a 
look of strain, uncomfortable to watch, on his son, he 

" I'm getting on, Soames. At my age I can't tell. I 
might die any time. There'll be a lot of money. There's 
Rachel and Cicely got no children; and Val's our there — 
that chap his father will get hold of all he can. And some- 
body'll pick up Imogen, I shouldn't wonder." 

Soames listened vaguely — he had heard all this before. 
Whish-whish ! went the brushes. 

" If that's all !" said Emily. 

"All!" cried James; " it's nothing, I'm coming to that." 
And again his eyes strained pitifully at Soames. 

*' It's you, my boy," he said suddenly; "you ought to 
get a divorce." 

That word, from those of all lips, was almost too much for 
Soames' composure. His eyes reconcentrated themselves 
quickly on the buttonhook, and as if in apology James 
hurried on: 

" I don't know what's become of her — they say she's 
abroad. Your Uncle Swithin used to admire her — he was a 
funny fellow." (So he always alluded to his dead twin — 
' The Stout and the Lean of it,' they had been called.) 
" She wouldn't be alone, I should say." And with that 
summing-up of the effect of beauty on human nature, he 
was silent, watching his son with eyes doubting as a bird's. 
Soames, too, was silent. Whish-whish ! went the brushes. 

" Come, James ! Soames knows best. It's his business." 

" Ah !" said James, and the word came from deep down; 
" but there's all my money, and there's his —who's it to go 
to ? And when he dies the name goes out." 


Soames replaced the buttonhook on the lace and pink silk 
of the dressing-table coverlet. 

" The name ?" said Emily, " there are all the other 

" As if that helped w/?," muttered James. "I shall be in 
my grave, and there'll be nobody, unless he marries again." 

" You're quite right," said Soames quietly; " I'm getting 
a divorce." 

James' eyes almost started from his head. 

" What ?" he cried. " There ! nobody tells me anything." 

" Well," said Emily, " who would have imagined you 
wanted it ? My dear boy, that is a surprise, after all these 

" It'll be a scandal," muttered James, as if to himself; 
" but I can't help that. Don't brush so hard. When'll 
it come on ?" 

" Before the Long Vacation; it's not defended." 

James' lips moved in secret calculation. " I shan't live 
to see my grandson," he muttered. 

Emily ceased brushing. " Of course you will, James. 
Soames will be as quick as he can." 

There was a long silence, till James reached out his arm. 

" Here ! let's have the eau-de-Cologne," and, putting 
it to his nose, he moved his forehead in the direction of his 
son. Soames bent over and kissed that brow just where 
the hair began. A relaxing quiver passed over James' face, 
as though the wheels of anxiety within were running down. 

" I'll get to bed," he said; " I shan't want to see the papers 
when that comes. They're a morbid lot; but I can't pay 
attention to them, I'm too old," 

Queerly aflPected, Soames went to the door; he heard his 
father say: 

" Here, I'm tired. I'll say a prayer in bed." 

And his mother answering: 

*' That's right, James; it'll be ever so much more comfy." 



On Forsyte 'Change the announcement of Jolly's death, 
among a batch of troopers, caused mixed sensation. Strange 
to read that Jolyon Forsyte (fifth of the name in direct 
descent) had died of disease in the service of his country, 
and not be able to feel it personally. It revived the old 
grudge against his father for having estranged himself. For 
such was still the prestige of old Jolyon that the other 
Forsytes could never quite feel, as might have been expected, 
that it was they who had cut off his descendants for irregu- 
larity. The news increased, of course, the interest and 
anxiety about Val; but then Val's name was Dartie, and even 
if he were killed in battle or got the Victoria Cross, it would 
not be at all the same as if his name were Forsyte. Not even 
casualty or glory to the Haymans would be really satisfactory. 
Family pride felt defrauded. 

How the rumour arose, then, that ' something very 
dreadful, my dear,' was pending, no one, least of all Soames, 
could tell, secret as he kept everything. Possibly some eye 
had seen ' Forsyte v. Forsyte and Forsyte ' in the cause list; 
and had added it to ' Irene in Paris with a fair beard.' 
Possibly some wall at Park Lane had ears. The fact remained 
that it was known — whispered among the old, discussed 
among the young — that family pride must soon receive a 

Soames, paying one of his Sunday visits to Timothy's — 

paying it with the feeling that after the suit came on he 

would be paying no more — felt knowledge in the air as he 



came In. Nobody, of course, dared speak of it before him, 
but each of the four other Forsytes present held their breath, 
aware that nothing could prevent Aunt Juley from making 
them all uncomfortable. She looked so piteously at Soames, 
she checked herself on the point of speech so often, that 
Aunt Hester excused herself and said she must go and bathe 
Timothy's eye — he had a sty coming. Soames impassive, 
slightly supercilious, did not stay long. He went out with 
a curse stifled behind his pale, just smiling lips. 

Fortunately for the peace of his mind, cruelly tortured by 
the coming scandal, he was kept busy day and night with plans 
for his retirement — for he had come to that grim conclu- 
sion. To go on seeing all those people who had known him 
as a ' long-headed chap,' an astute adviser — after that — no ! 
The fastidiousness and pride which was so strangely, so 
inextricably blended in him with possessive obtuseness, 
revolted against the thought. He would retire, live pri- 
vately, go on buying pictures, make a great name as a 
collector — after all, his heart was more in that than it had 
ever been in Law. In pursuance of this now fixed resolve, 
he had to get ready to amalgamate his business with another 
firm without letting people know, for that would excite 
curiosity and make humiliation cast its shadow before. He 
had pitched on the firm of Cuthcott, Holliday and Kingson, 
two of whom were dead. The full name after the amal- 
gamation would therefore be Cuthcott, Holliday, Kingson, 
Forsyte, Bustard and Forsyte. But after debate as to which 
of the dead still had any influence with the living, it was 
decided to reduce the title to Cuthcott, Kingson and Forsyte, 
of whom Kingson would be the active and Soames the 
sleeping partner. For leaving his name, prestige, and clients 
behind him, Soames would receive considerable value. 

One night, as befitted a man who had arrived at so 
important a stage of his career, he made a calculation of 


what he was worth, and after writing off liberally for depre- 
ciation by the war, found his value to be some hundred and 
thirty thousand pounds. At his father's death, which could 
not, alas, be delayed much longer, he must come into at 
least another fifty thousand, and his yearly expenditure at 
present just reached two. Standing among his pictures, 
he saw before him a future full of bargains earned by the 
trained faculty of knowing better than other people. Selling 
what was about to decline, keeping what was still going up, 
and exercising judicious insight into future taste, he would 
make a unique collection, which at his death would pass 
to the nation under the title ' Forsyte Bequest.' 

If the divorce went through, he had determined on his 
line with Madame Lamotte. She had, he knew, but one 
real ambition — to live on her ' rentes ' in Paris near her 
grandchildren. He would buy the goodwill of the Restaur- 
ant Bretagne at a fancy price. Madame would live like a 
Queen-Mother in Paris on the interest, invested as she would 
know how. (Incidentally Soames meant to put a capable 
manager in her place, and make the restaurant pay good 
interest on his money. There were great possibilities in 
Soho.) On Annette he would promise to settle fifteen 
thousand pounds (whether designedly or not), precisely the 
sum old Jolyon had settled on ' that woman.' 

A letter from Jolyon's solicitor to his own had disclosed 
the fact that ' those two ' were in Italy. And an opportunity 
had been duly given for noting that they had first stayed at 
an hotel in London. The matter was clear as daylight, 
and would be disposed of in half an hour or so; but during 
that half-hour he, Soames, would go down to hell; and after 
that half-hour all bearers of the Forsyte name would feel 
the bloom was off the rose. He had no illusions like Shakes- 
peare that roses by any other name would smell as sweet. 
The name was a possession, a concrete, unstained piece of 


property, the value of which would be reduced some twenty 
per cent, at least. Unless it were Roger, who had once 
refused to stand for Parliament, and — oh, irony ! — Jolyon, 
hung on the line, there had never been a distinguished 
Forsyte. But that very lack of distinction was the name's 
greatest asset. It was a private name, intensely individual, 
and his own property; it had never been exploited for good 
or evil by intrusive report. He and each member of his 
family owned it wholly, sanely, secretly, without any more 
interference from the public than had been necessitated by 
their births, their marriages, their deaths. And during 
these weeks of waiting and preparing to drop the Law, he 
conceived for that Law a bitter distaste, so deeply did he 
resent its coming violation of his name, forced on him by the 
need he felt to perpetuate that name in a lawful manner. 
The monstrous injustice of the whole thing excited in him a 
perpetual suppressed fury. He had asked no better than to 
live in spotless domesticity, and now he must go into the 
witness box, after all these futile, barren years, and proclaim 
his failure to keep his wife — incur the pity, the amusement, 
the contempt of his kind. It was all upside down. She 
and that fellow ought to be the sufferers, and they — were 
in Italy ! In these weeks the Law he had served so faith- 
fully, looked on so reverently as the guardian of all property, 
seemed to him quite pitiful. What could be more insane 
than to tell a man that he owned his wife, and punish him 
when someone unlawfully took her away from him ? Did 
the Law not know that a man's name was to him the apple 
of his eye, that it was far harder to be regarded as cuckold 
than as seducer ? He actually envied Jolyon the reputation 
of succeeding where he, Soames, had failed. The question 
of damages worried him, too. He wanted to make that 
fellow suffer, but he remembered his cousin's words, "I shall 
be very happy," with the uneasy feeling that to claim damages 


would make not Jolyon but himself suffer; he felt uncannily 
that Jolyon would rather like to pay them — the chap was so 
loose. Besides, to claim damages was not the thing to do. 
The claim, indeed, had been made almost mechanically j 
and as the hour drew near Soames saw in it just another 
dodge of this insensitive and topsy-turvy Law to make him 
ridiculous; so that people might sneer and say: " Oh yes, 
he got quite a good price for her !" And he gave instructions 
that his Counsel should state that the money would be given 
to a Home for Fallen Women. He was a long time hitting 
off exactly the right charity; but, having pitched on it, he 
used to wake up in the night and think: ' It won't do, too 
lurid; it'll draw attention. Something quieter — better 
taste.' He did not care for dogs, or he would have named 
them ; and it was in desperation at last — for his knowledge 
of charities was limited — that he decided on the blind. 
That could not be inappropriate, and it would make the 
Jury assess the damages high. 

A good many suits were dropping out of the list, which 
happened to be exceptionally thin that summer, so that his 
case would be reached before August. As the day grew 
nearer, Winifred was his only comfort. She showed the 
fellow-feeling of one who had been through the mill, and was 
the ' feme-sole ' in whom he confided, well knowing that she 
would not let Dartie into her confidence. That ruffian 
would be only too rejoiced ! At the end of July, on the 
afternoon before the case, he went in to see her. They had 
not yet been able to leave town, because Dartie had already 
spent their summer holiday, and Winifred dared not go 
to her father for more money while he was waiting not to 
be told anything about this affair of Soames. 

Soames found her with a letter in her hand. 

" That from Val?" he asked gloomily. " What does he 
say ?" 


" He says he's married," said Winifred, 

" Whom to, for Goodness' sake ?" 

Winifred looked up at him. 

" To Holly Forsyte, Jolyon's daughter." 

" What ?" 

" He got leave and did it. I didn't even know he knew 
her. Awkward, isn't it ?" 

Soames uttered a short laugh at that characteristic mini- 

" Awkward ! Well, I don't suppose they'll hear about this 
till they come back. They'd better stay out there. That 
fellow will give her money." 

" But I want Val back," said Winifred almost piteously; 
" I miss him, he helps me to get on." 

"I know," murmured Soames. " How's Dartie behaving 
now ?" 

" It might be worse; but it's always money. Would you 
like me to come down to the Court to-morrow, Soames V 

Soames stretched out his hand for hers. The gesture so 
betrayed the loneliness in him that she pressed it between 
her two. 

" Never mind, old boy. You'll feel ever so much better 
when it's all over." 

" I don't know what I've done," said Soames huskily; 
" I never have. It's all upside down. I was fond of her; 
I've always been." 

Winifred saw a drop of blood ooze out of his lip, and the 
sight stirred her profoundly. 

" Of course," she said, " it's been too bad of her all along ! 
But what shall I do about this marriage of Val's, Soames ? 
I don't know how to write to him, with this coming on. 
You've seen that child. Is she pretty ?" 

" Yes, she's pretty," said Soames. " Dark— lady-like 


' That doesn't sound so bad,' thought Winifred. ' Jolyon 
had style.' 

" It is a coil," she said. " What will father say ?" 

" Mustn't be told," said Soames. " The war'll soon be 
over now, you'd better let Val take to farming out there." 

It was tantamount to saying that his nephew was lost. 

" I haven't told Monty," Winifred murmured desolately. 

The case was reached before noon next day, and was over 
in little more than half an hour. Soames — pale, spruce, 
sad-eyed in the witness box — had suffered so much before- 
hand that he took it all like one dead. The moment the 
decree nisi was pronounced he left the Courts of Justice. 

Four hours until he became public property ! ' Solici- 
tor's divorce suit !' A surly, dogged anger replaced that 
dead feeling within him. ' Damn them all !' he thought; 
' I won't run away. I'll act as if nothing had happened.' 
And in the sweltering heat of Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill 
he walked all the way to his City Club, lunched, and went 
back to his office. He worked there stolidly throughout the 

On his way out he saw that his clerks knew, and answered 
their involuntary glances with a look so sardonic that they 
were immediately withdrawn. In front of St. Paul's, he 
stopped to buy the most gentlemanly of the evening papers. 
Yes ! there he was ! ' Well-known solicitor's divorce. 
Cousin co-respondent. Damages given to the blind ' — so, 
they had got that in ! At every other face, he thought: 
* I wonder if you know !' And suddenly he felt queer, as if 
something were racing round in his head. 

What was this ? He was letting it get hold of him ! He 
mustn't ! He would be ill. He mustn't think ! He would 
get down to the river and row about, and fish. ' I'm not 
going to be laid up,' he thought. 

It flashed across him that he had something of importance 


to do before he went out of town. Madame Lamotte ! He 
must explain the Law. Another six months before he was 
really free ! Only he did not want to see Annette ! And he 
passed his hand over the top of his head — it was very hot. 

He branched oil through Covent Garden. On this sultry 
day of late July the garbage-tainted air of the old market 
offended him, and Soho seemed more than ever the disen- 
chanted home of rapscallionism. Alone, the Restaurant 
Bretagne, neat, daintily painted, with its blue tubs and the 
dwarf trees therein, retained an aloof and Frenchified self- 
respect. It was the slack hour, and pale trim waitresses were 
preparing the little tables for dinner. Soames went through 
into the private part. To his discomfiture Annette 
answered his knock. She, too, looked pale and dragged 
down by the heat. 

" You are quite a stranger," she said languidly. 

Soames smiled. 

" I haven't wished to be; I've been busy. Where's your 
mother, Annette ? I've got some news for her." 

" Mother is not in." 

It seemed to Soames that she looked at him in a queer 
way. What did she know ? How much had her mother told 
her ? The worry of trying to make that out gave him an 
alarming feeling in the head. He gripped the edge of the 
table, and diz/.ily saw Annette come forward, her eyes clear 
with surprise. He shut his own and said: 

" It's all right. I've had a touch of the sun, I think." 
The sun ! What he had was a touch of darkness ! Annette's 
voice, French and composed, said: 

" Sit down, it will pass, then." Her hand pressed his 
shoulder, and Soames sank into a chair. When the dark 
feeling dispersed, and he opened his eyes, she was looking 
down at him. What an inscrutable and odd expression for 
a girl of twenty ! 


" Do you feel better ?" 

" It's nothing," said Soames. Instinct told him that to 
be feeble before her was not helping him — age was enough 
handicap without that. Will-power was his fortune with 
Annette; he had lost ground these latter months from inde- 
cision — he could not afford to lose any more. He got up, 
and said: 

" I'll write to your mother, I'm going down to my river 
house for a long holiday. I want you both to come there 
presently and stay. It's just at its best. You will, won't 
you ?" 

" It will be veree nice." A pretty little roll of that ' r,' 
but no enthusiasm. And rather sadly he added: 

" You're feeling the heat, too, aren't you, Annette ? It'll 
do you good to be on the river. Good-night." Annette 
swayed forward. There was a sort of compunction in the 

" Are you fit to go ? Shall I give you some 
coffee ?" 

" No," said Soames firmly. " Give me your hand." 

She held out her hand, and Soames raised it to his lips. 
When he looked up, her face wore again that strange expres- 
sion. ' I can't tell,' he thought as he went out; ' but I 
mustn't think — I mustn't worry.' 

But worry he did, walking toward Pall Mall. English, 
not of her religion, middle-aged, scarred as it were by do- 
mestic tragedy, what had he to give her ? Only wealth, social 
position, leisure, admiration ! It was much, but was it 
enough for a beautiful girl of twenty ? He felt so ignorant 
about Annette. He had, too, a curious fear of the French 
nature of her mother and herself. They knew so well what 
they wanted. They were almost Forsytes. They would 
never grasp a shadow and miss a substance ! 

The tremendous effort it was to write a simple note to 



Madame Lamotte when he reached his Club warned him 
still further that he was at the end of his tether. 

" My dear Madame (he said), 

" You will see by the enclosed newspaper cutting that 
I obtained my decree of divorce to-day. By the English 
Law I shall not, however, be free to marry again till the 
decree is confirmed six months hence. In the meanwhile I 
have the honour to ask to be considered a formal suitor for 
the hand of your daughter. I shall write again in a few days 
and beg you both to come and stay at my river house. 

" I am, dear Madame, 

" Sincerely yours, 

" SoAMEs Forsyte." 

Having sealed and posted this letter, he went into the 
dining-room. Three mouthfuls of soup convinced him that 
he could not eat; and, causing a cab to be summoned, he 
drove to Paddington Station and took the first train to 
Reading. He reached his house just as the sun went down, 
and wandered out on to the lawn. The air was drenched 
with the scent of pinks and picotees in his flower borders. A 
stealing coolness came off the river. 

Rest — peace ! Let a poor fellow rest ! Let not worry 
and shame and anger chase like evil night-birds in his head ! 
Like those doves perched half-sleeping on their dovecot, like 
the furry creatures in the woods on the far side, and the 
simple folk in their cottages, like the trees and the river 
itself, whitening fast in twilight, like the darkening corn- 
flower-blue sky where stars were coming up — let him cease 
jrom himself, and rest ! 



The marriage of Soames with Annette took place in Paris on 

the last day of January, 1901, with such privacy that not even 

Emily was told until it was accomplished. The day after 

the wedding he brought her to one of those quiet hotels in 

London where greater expense can be incurred for less 

result than anywhere else under heaven. Her beauty in the 

best Parisian frocks was giving him more satisfaction than if 

he had collected a perfect bit of china, or a jewel of a picture; 

he looked forward to the moment when he would exhibit her 

in Park Lane, in Green Street, and at Timothy's. 

If someone had asked him in those days, " In confidence — 

are you in love with this girl?" he would have replied: 

" In love ? What is love ? If you mean do I feel to her as 

I did towards Irene in those old days when I first met her 

and she would not have me; when I sighed and starved after 

her and couldn't rest a minute until she yielded — no ! If 

you mean do I admire her youth and prettiness, do my 

senses ache a little when I see her moving about — yes ! Do 

I think she will keep me straight, make me a creditable wife 

and a good mother for my children ? — again yes ! What 

more do I need ? and what more do three-quarters of the 

women who are married get from the men who marry them ?" 

And if the enquirer had pursued his query, " And do you 

think it was fair to have tempted this girl to give herself to 

you for life unless you have really touched her heart ?" he 

would have answered: "The French see these things 

differently from us. They look at marriage from the point 



of view of establishments and children; and, from my own 
experience, I am not at all sure that theirs is not the sensible 
view. I shall not expect this time more than I can get, or 
she can give. Years hence I shouldn't be surprised if I have 
trouble with her; but I shall be getting old, I shall have 
children by then. I shall shut my eyes. I have had my 
great passion; hers is perhaps to come — I don't suppose it 
will be for me. I offer her a great deal, and I don't expect 
much in return, except children, or at least a son. But one 
thing I am sure of — she has very good sense !" 

And if, insatiate, the enquirer had gone on, *' You do not 
look, then, for spiritual union in this marriage ?" Soames 
would have lifted his sideway smile, and rejoined: "That's 
as it may be. If I get satisfaction for my senses, perpetua- 
tion of myself, good taste and good humour in the house, it 
is all I can expect at my age. I am not likely to be going 
out of my way towards any far-fetched sentimentalism.'* 
Whereon, the enquirer must in good taste have ceased 

The Queen was dead, and the air of the greatest city upon 
earth grey with unshed tears. Fur-coated and top-hatted, 
with Annette beside him in dark furs, Soames crossed Park 
Lane on the morning of the funeral procession, to the rails 
in Hyde Park. Little moved though he ever was by public 
matters, this event, supremely symbolical, this summing-up 
of a long rich period, impressed his fancy. In '37, when she 
came to the throne, ' Superior Dosset ' was still building 
houses to make London hideous; and James, a stripling of 
twenty-six, just laying the foundations of his practice in the 
Law. Coaches still ran; men wore stocks, shaved their upper 
lips, ate oysters out of barrels ; ' tigers ' swung behind cabrio- 
lets; women said, ' La !' and owned no property; there were 
manners in the land, and pigsties for the poor; unhappy 
devils were hanged for little crimes, and Dickens had but just 


begun to write. Wellnigh two generations had slipped by — 
of steamboats, railways, telegraphs, bicycles, electric light, 
telephones, and now these motor-cars — of such accumulated 
wealth, that eight per cent, had become three, and Forsytes 
were numbered by the thousand ! Morals had changed, 
manners had changed, men had become monkeys twice- 
removed, God had become Mammon — Mammon so respect- 
able as to deceive himself. Sixty-four years that favoured 
property, and had made the upper middle class; buttressed, 
chiselled, polished it, till it was almost indistinguishable in 
manners, morals, speech, appearance, habit, and soul from 
the nobility. An epoch which had gilded individual liberty 
so that if a man had money, he was free in law and fact, and 
if he had not money he was free in law and not in fact. An 
era which had canonised hypocrisy, so that to seem to be 
respectable was to be. A great Age, whose transmuting in- 
fluence nothing had escaped save the nature of man and the 
nature of the Universe. 

And to witness the passing of this Age, London — its pet 
and fancy — was pouring forth her citizens through every 
gate into Hyde Park, hub of Victorianism, happy hunting- 
ground of Forsytes. Under the grey heavens, whose drizzle 
just kept off, the dark concourse gathered to see the show. 
The 'good old' Queen, full of years and virtue, had emerged 
from her seclusion for the last time to make a London 
holiday. From Houndsditch, Acton, Ealing, Hampstead, 
Islington, and Bethnal Green; from Hackney, Hornsey, Ley- 
tonstone, Battersea, and Fulham; and from those green 
pastures where Forsytes flourish— Mayf air and Kensington, 
St. James' and Belgravia, Bayswater and Chelsea and the 
Regent's Park, the people swarmed down on to the roads 
where death would presently pass with dusky pomp and 
pageantry. Never again would a Queen reign so long, or 
people have a chance to see so much history buried for their 


money. A pity the war dragged on, and that the Wreath of 
Victory could not be laid upon her coffin ! All else would 
be there to follow and commemorate — soldiers, sailors, 
foreign princes, half-masted bunting, tolling bells, and above 
all the surging, great, dark-coated crowd, with perhaps a 
simple sadness here and there deep in hearts beneath black 
clothes put on by regulation. After all, more than a Queen 
was going to her rest, a woman who had braved sorrow, lived 
well and wisely according to her lights. 

Out in the crowd against the railings, with his arm hooked 
in Annette's, Soames waited. Yes ! the Age was passing ! 
What with this Trade-Unionism, and Labour fellows in the 
House of Commons, with continental fiction, and something 
in the general feel of everything, not to be expressed in 
words, things were very different; he recalled the crowd on 
Maf eking night, and George Forsyte saying: " They're all 
socialists, they want our goods." Like James, Soames 
didn't know, he couldn't tell — with Edward on the throne ! 
Things would never be as safe again as under good old 
Viccy ! Convulsively he pressed his young wife's arm. 
There, at any rate, was something substantially his own, 
domestically certain again at last; something which made 
property worth while — a real thing once more. Pressed 
close against her and trying to ward others ofE, Soames was 
content. The crowd swayed round them, ate sandwiches 
and dropped crumbs; boys who had climbed the plane-trees 
chattered above like monkeys, threw twigs and orange-peel. 
It was past time; they should be coming soon ! And, 
suddenly, a little behind them to the left, he saw a tallish 
man with a soft hat and short grizzling beard, and a tallish 
woman in a little round fur cap and veil. Jolyon and Irene 
talking, smiling at each other, close together like Annette 
and himself ! They had not seen him; and stealthily, with 
a very queer feeling in his heart, Soames watched those two. 


They looked happy ! What had they come here for — 
inherently illicit creatures, rebels from the Victorian ideal ? 
What business had they in this crowd ? Each of them twice 
exiled by morality — making a boast, as it were, of love and 
laxity ! He watched them fascinated; admitting grudgingly 
even with his arm thrust through Annette's that — that she — 

Irene No ! he would not admit it ; and he turned his 

eyes away. He would not see them, and let the old bitter- 
ness, the old longing rise up within him ! And then Annette 
turned to him and said: " Those two people, Soames; they 
know you, I am sure. Who are they ?" 

Soames nosed sideways. 

"What people?" 

" There, you see them; just turning away. They know 

" No," Soames answered; " a mistake, my dear." 

" A lovely face ! And how she walk ! Elle est trh 
distingue e P' 

Soames looked then. Into his life, out of his life she had 
walked like that — swaying and erect, remote, unscizable; 
ever eluding the contact of his soul ! He turned abruptly 
from that receding vision of the past. 

" You'd better attend," he said, " they're coming now !" 

But while he stood, grasping her arm, seemingly intent on 
the head of the procession, he was quivering with the sense 
of always missing something, with instinctive regret that he 
had not got them both. 

Slow came the music and the march, till, in silence, the long 
line wound in through the Park gate. He heard Annette 
whisper, "How sad it is and beautiful !"felt the clutch of her 
hand as she stood up on tiptoe; and the crowd's emotion 
gripped him. There it was — the bier of the Queen, coffin of 
the Age slow passing ! And as it went by there came a mur- 
muring groan from all the long line of those who watched. 


a sound such as Soames had never heard, so unconscious, 
primitive, deep and wild, that neither he nor any knew 
whether they had joined in uttering it. Strange sound, 
indeed! Tribute of an Age to its own death, . . . Ah! 
Ah ! . . . The hold on life had slipped. That which had 
seemed eternal was gone ! The Queen — God bless her ! 

It moved on with the bier, that travelling groan, as a fire 
moves on over grass in a thin line; it kept step, and marched 
alongside down the dense crowds mile after mile. It was a 
human sound, and yet inhuman, pushed out by animal sub- 
consciousness, by intimate knowledge of universal death and 
change. None of us — none of us can hold on for ever ! 

It left silence for a little — a very little time, till tongues 
began, eager to retrieve interest in the show. Soames 
lingered just long enough to gratify Annette, then took her 
out of the Park to lunch at his father's in Park Lane. . . . 

James had spent the morning gazing out of his bedroom 
window. The last show he would see — last of so many ! 
So she was gone ! Well, she was getting an old woman. 
Swithin and he had seen her crowned — slim slip of a girl, 
not so old as Imogen ! She had got very stout of late. 
Jolyon and he had seen her married to that German chap, 
her husband — he had turned out all right before he died, 
and left her with that son of his. And he remembered the 
many evenings he and his brothers and their cronies had 
wagged their heads over their wine and walnuts and that 
fellow in his salad days. And now he had come to the throne. 
They said he had steadied down — he didn't know — couldn't 
tell ! He'd make the money fly still, he shouldn't wonder. 
What a lot of people out there ! It didn't seem so very long 
since he and Swithin stood in the crowd outside Westminster 
Abbey when she was crowned, and Swithin had taken him 
to Cremorne afterwards — racketty chap, Swithin; no, it 
didn't seem much longer ago than Jubilee Year, when he 


had joined with Roger in renting a balcony in Piccadilly. 
Jolyon, Swithin, Roger all gone, and he would be ninety in 
August ! And there was Soames married again to a French 
girl. The French were a queer lot, but they made good 
mothers, he had heard. Things changed ! They said this 
German Emperor was here for the funeral, his telegram to 
old Kruger had been in shocking taste. He shouldn't be 
surprised if that chap made trouble some day. Change ! 
H'm ! Well, they must look after themselves when he was 
gone: he didn't know where he'd be ! And noAv Emily had 
asked Dartie to lunch, with Winifred and Imogen, to meet 
Soames' wife — she was always doing something. And there 
was Irene living with that fellow Jolyon, they said. He'd 
marry her now, he supposed. 

' My brother Jolyon,' he thought, ' what would he have 
said to it all ?' And somehow the utter impossibility of 
knowing what his elder brother, once so looked up to, would 
have said, so worried James that he got up from his chair by 
the window, and began slowly, feebly to pace the room. 

'She was a pretty thing, too,' he thought; 'I was fond of 
her. Perhaps Soames didn't suit her — I don't know — I 
can't tell. We never had any trouble with our wives.' 
Women had changed — everything had changed ! And now 
the Queen was dead — well, there it was ! A movement in 
the crowd brought him to a standstill at the window, his 
nose touching the pane and whitening from the chill of it. 
They had got her as far as Hyde Park Corner — they were 
passing now ! Why didn't Emily come up here where she 
could see, instead of fussing about lunch. He missed her 
at that moment — missed her ! Through the bare branches 
of the plane-trees he could just see the procession, could see 
the hats coming off the people's heads — a lot of them would 
catch colds, he shouldn't wonder ! A voice behind him 


" You've got a capital view here, James !" 

** There jou are!" muttered James; "why didn't you 
come before ? You might have missed it !" 

And he was silent, staring with all his might. 

" What's that noise?" he asked suddenly. 

"There's no noise," returned Emily; "what are you 
thinking of ? — they wouldn't cheer." 

" I can hear it." 

" Nonsense, James !" 

No sound came through those double panes; what James 
heard was the groaning in his own heart at sight of his Age 

" Don't you ever tell me where I'm buried," he said 
suddenly. " I shan't want to know." And he turned from 
the window. There she went, the old Queen; she'd had 
a lot of anxiety — she'd be glad to be out of it, he should 
think ! 

Emily took up the hair- brushes. 

" There'll be just time to brush your head," she said, 
" before they come. You must look your best, James." 

" Ah !" muttered James; " they say she's pretty." 

The meeting with his new daughter-in-law took place in 
the dining-room. James was seated by the fire when she 
was brought in. He placed his hands on the arms of the 
chair and slowly raised himself. Stooping and immaculate 
in his frock-coat, thin as a line in Euclid, he received Annette's 
hand in his; and the anxious eyes of his furrowed face, which 
had lost its colour now, doubted above her. A little warmth 
came into them and into his cheeks, refracted from her 

" How are you ?" he said. " You've been to see the 
Queen, I suppose ? Did you have a good crossing ?" 
In this way he greeted her from whom he hoped for a 
grandson of his name. 


Gazing at him, so old, thin, white, and spotless, Annette 
murmured something in French which James did not under- 

" Yes, yes," he said, " you want your lunch, I expect. 
Soames, ring the bell; we won't wait for that chap Dartie." 
But just then they arrived. Dartie had refused to go out 
of his way to see ' the old girl.' With an early cock-tail 
beside him, he had taken a ' squint ' from the smoking-room 
of the Iseeum, so that Winifred and Imogen had been 
obliged to come back from the Park to fetch him thence. 
His brown eyes rested on Annette with a stare of almost 
startled satisfaction. The second beauty that fellow Soames 
had picked up ! What women could see in him ! Well, 
she would play him the same trick as the other, no doubt; 
but in the meantime he was a lucky devil ! And he brushed 
up his moustache, having in nine months of Green Street 
domesticity regained almost all his flesh and his assurance. 
Despite the comfortable efforts of Emily, Winifred's com- 
posure, Imogen's enquiring friendliness, Dartie's showing-off, 
and James' solicitude about her food, it was not, Soames felt, 
a successful lunch for his bride. He took her away very soon. 

" That Monsieur Dartie," said Annette in the cab, " je 
n'aniie pas ce type — /^!" 

" No, by George !" said Soames. 

" Your sister is veree amiable, and the girl is pretty. 
Your father is reree old. I think your mother has trouble 
with him; I should not like to be her." 

Soames nodded at the shrewdness, the clear hard judgment 
in his young wife ; but it disquieted him a little. The thought 
may have just flashed through him, too: ' When I'm eighty 
she'll be fifty-five, having trouble with me !' 

" There's just one other house of my relations I must take 
you to," he said; " you'll find it funny, but we must get it 
over; and then we'll dine and go to the theatre." 


In this way he prepared her for Timothy's. But Timothy's 
was different. They were delighted to see dear Soames 
after this long long time; and so this was Annette ! 

" You are so pretty, my dear; almost too young and pretty 
for dear Soames, aren't you ? But he's very attentive and 

careful — such a good husb " Aunt Juley checked herself, 

and placed her lips just under each of Annette's eyes — she 
afterwards described them to Francie, who dropped in, as: 
" Cornflower- blue, so pretty, I quite wanted to kiss them. 
I must say dear Soames is a perfect connoisseur. In her 
French way, and not so very French either, I think she's as 
pretty — though not so distinguished, not so alluring — as 
Irene. Because she was alluring, wasn't she ? with that 
white skin and those dark eyes, and that hair, couleur de — 
what was it ? I always forget." 
" Feuille morte,^'' Francie prompted. 
" Of course, dead leaves — so strange. I remember when 
I was a girl, before we came to London, we had a foxhound 
puppy — to ' walk ' it was called then ; it had a tan top to its 
head and a white chest, and beautiful dark brown eyes, and 
it was a lady." 

" Yes, auntie," said Francie, " but I don't see the con- 
" Oh !" replied Aunt Juley, rather flustered, " it was so 

alluring, and her eyes and hair, you know " She was 

silent, as if surprised in some indelicacy. " Feuille morte^^ 
«he added suddenly; *' Hester — do remember that !". . . 

Considerable debate took place between the two sisters 
whether Timothy should or should not be summoned to see 

" Oh, don't bother !" said Soames. 

" But it's no trouble, only of course Annette's being 
French might upset him a little. He was so scared about 
Fashoda. I think perhaps we had better not run the risk, 


Hester. It's nice to have her all to ourselves, isn't it ? 
And how are you, Soames ? Have you quite got over 
your " 

Hester interposed hurriedly: 

" What do you think of London, Annette ?" 

Soames, disquieted, awaited the reply. It came, sensible, 
composed: " Oh ! I know London, I have visited before." 

He had never ventured to speak to her on the subject of 
the restaurant. The French had different notions about 
gentility, and to shrink from connection with it might seem 
to her ridiculous; he had waited to be married before 
mentioning it; and now he wished he hadn't. 

" And what part do you know best ?" asked Aunt Juley. 

" Soho," said Annette simply. 

Soames snapped his jaw. 

" Soho ?" repeated Aunt Juley ; " Soho ?" 

* That'll go round the family,' thought Soames. 

" It's very French, and interesting," he said. 

" Yes," murmured Aunt Juley, " your Uncle Roger had 
some houses there once; he was always having to turn the 
tenant? out, I remember." 

Soames changed the subject to Mapledurham. 

" Of course," said Aunt Juley, " you will be going down 
there soon to settle in. We are all so looking forward to the 
time when Annette has a dear little " 

" Juley !" cried Aunt Hester desperately, " ring for tea !'* 

Soames dared not wait for tea, and took Annette away. 

" I shouldn't mention Soho if I were you," he said in the 
cab. " It's rather a shady part of London; and you're 
altogether above that restaurant business now ; I mean,'* 
he added, " I want you to know nice people, and the English 
are fearful snobs." 

Annette's clear eyes opened; a little smile came on her 


" Yes ?" she said. 

' H'ln !' thought Soames, * that's meant for me !' and he 
looked at her hard. ' She's got good business instincts,* 
he thought. ' I must make her grasp it once for all !' 

" Look here, Annette ! it's very simple, only it wants 
understanding. Our professional and leisured classes still 
think themselves a cut above our business classes, except of 
course the very rich. It may be stupid, but there it is, you 
see. It isn't advisable in England to let people know that 
you ran a restaurant or kept a shop or were in any kind of 
trade. It may have been extremely creditable, but it puts 
a sort of label on you; you don't have such a good time, or 
meet such nice people— that's all." 

" I see," said Annette; " it is the same in France." 

" Oh !" murmured Soames, at once relieved and taken 
aback. " Of course, class is everything, really." 

" Yes," said Annette; " comme vous etes sage." 

' That's all right,' thought Soames, watching her lips, 
' only she's pretty cynical.' His knowledge of French was 
not yet such as to make him grieve that she had not said 
' /«.' He slipped his arm round her, and murmured with 
an effort: 

" Et vous ites ma belle femme." 

Annette went off into a little fit of laughter. 

" Oh, non !" she said. " Oh, -non I ne parlez pas Fran^ais, 
Soames, What is that old lady, your aunt, looking forward 
to ?" 

Soames bit his lip. " God knows !" he said; " she's always 
saying something ;" but he knew better than God. 



The war dragged on. Nicholas had been heard to say that 
it would cost three hundred millions if it cost a penny before 
they'd done with it! The income-tax was seriously 
threatened. Still, there would be South Africa for their 
money, once for all. And though the possessive instinct 
felt badly shaken at three o'clock in the morning, it re- 
covered by breakfast-time with the recollection that one gets 
nothing in this world without paying for it. So, on the 
whole, people went about their business much as if there 
were no war, no concentration camps, no slippery de Wet, 
no feeling on the Continent, no anything unpleasant. 
Indeed, the attitude of the nation was typified by Timothy's 
map, whose animation was suspended — for Timothy no longer 
moved the flags, and they could not move themselves, 
not even backwards and forwards as they should have 

Suspended animation went further; it invaded Forsyte 
'Change, and produced a general uncertainty as to what was 
going to happen next. The announcement in the marriage 
column of The Times, 'Jolyon Forsyte to Irene, only daughter 
of the late Professor Heron,' had occasioned doubt whether 
Irene had been justly described. And yet, on the whole, 
relief was felt that she had not been entered as, ' Irene, late 
the wife,' or 'the divorced wife,' 'of Soames Forsyte.' Alto- 
gether, there had been a kind of sublimity from the first 
about the way the family had taken that ' affair.' As James 
had 'phrased it, ''There it was!' No use to fuss ! Nothing 



to be had out of admitting that it had been a 'nasty jar' — in 
the phraseology of the day. 

But what would happen now that both Soames and Jolyon 
were married again ? That was very intriguing. George 
was known to have laid Eustace six to four on a little Jolyon 
before a little Soames. George was so droll ! It was 
rumoured, too, that he and Dartie had a bet as to whether 
James would attain the age of ninety, though which of them 
had backed James no one knew. 

At the end of May, Winifred came round to say that Val 
had been wounded in the log by a spent bullet, and was to 
be discharged. His wife was nursing him. He would have 
a little limp — nothing to speak of. He wanted his grand- 
father to buy him a farm out there where he could breed 
horses. Her father was giving Holly eight hundred a year, 
so they could be quite comfortable, because his grandfather 
would give Val five, he had said; but as to the farm, he didn't 
know — couldn't tell: he didn't want Val to go throwing 
away his money. 

" But, you know," said Winifred, " he must do something." 

Aunt Hester thought that perhaps his dear grandfather 
was wise, because if he didn't buy a farm it couldn't turn out 

" But Val loves horses," said Winifred. " It'd be such an 
occupation for him." 

Aunt Juley thought that horses were very uncertain, had 
not Montagu found them so ? 

" Val's different," said Winifred; " he takes after me." 

Aunt Juley was sure that dear Val was very clever. " I 
always remember," she added, " how he gave his bad penny 
to a beggar. His dear grandfather was so pleased. He 
thought it showed such presence of mind. I remember his 
saying that he ought to go into the Navy." 

Aunt Hester chimed in: Did not Winifred think that it 


was much better for the young people to be secure and not 
run any risk at their age ? 

" Well," said Winifred, " if they were in London, perhaps; 
in London it's amusing to do nothing. But out there, of 
course, he'll simply get bored to death." 

Aunt Hester thought that it would be nice for him to 
work, if he were quite sure not to lose by it. It was not as 
if they had no money. Timothy, of course, had done so 
well by retiring. Aunt Juley wanted to know what Mon- 
tagu had said. 

Winifred did not tell her, for Montagu had merely re- 
marked: " Wait till the old man dies." 

At this moment Francie was announced. Her eyes were 
brimminsj with a smile. 

" Well," she said, " what do you think of it ?" 

"Of what, dear?" 

" In The Times this morning." 

" We haven't seen it, we always read it after dinner; 
Timothy has it till then," 

Francie rolled her eyes. 

" Do you think you ought to tell us ?" said Aunt Juley. 
" What o'fl/ it ?" 

" Irene's had a son at Robin Hill." 

Aunt Juley drew in her breath. " But," she said, 
" they were only married in March !" 

" Yes, Auntie ; isn't it interesting ?" 

" Well," said Winifred, " I'm glad. I was sorry for Jolyon 
losing his boy. It might have been Val," 

Aunt Juley seemed to go into a sort of dream. 

" I wonder," she murmured, " what dear Soames will 
think ? He has so wanted to have a son himself. A little 
bird has always told me that." 

" Well," said Winifred, " he's going to — bar accidents." 

Gladness trickled out of Aunt Juley's eyes, 



" How delightful !" she said. " When ?" 

" November." 

Such a lucky month 1 But she did wish it could be sooner. 
It was a long time for James to wait, at his age ! 

To wait ! They dreaded it for James, but they were used 
to it themselves. Indeed, it was their great distraction. 
To wait ! For The Times to read; for one or other of their 
nieces or nephews to come in and cheer them up; for news 
of Nicholas' health; for that decision of Christopher's about 
going on the stage; for information concerning the mine of 
Mrs. MacAnder's nephew; for the doctor to come about 
Hester's inclination to wake up early in the morning; for 
books from the library which were always out; for Timothy 
to have a cold; for a nice quiet warm day, not too hot, 
when they could take a turn in Kensington Gardens. To 
wait, one on each side of the hearth in the drawing-room, 
for the clock between them to strike; their thin, veined, 
knuckled hands plying knitting-needles and crochet-hooks, 
their hair ordered to stop — like Canute's waves — from any 
further advance in colour. To wait in their black silks or 
satins for the Court to say that Hester might wear her dark 
green, and Juley her darker maroon. To wait, slowly 
turning over and over in their old minds the little joys and 
sorrows, events and expectancies, of their little family world, 
as cows chew patient cuds in a familiar field. And this new 
event was so well worth waiting for. Soames had always 
been their pet, with his tendency to give them pictures, and 
his almost weekly visits which they missed so much, and his 
need for their sympathy evoked by the wreck of his first 
marriage. This new event — the birth of an heir to Soames — 
was so important for him, and for his dear father, too, that 
James might not have to die without some certainty about 
things. James did so dislike uncertainty; and with Montagu, 
of course, he could not feel really satisfied to leave no grand- 


children but the young Darties. After all, one's own name 
did count ! And as James' ninetieth birthday neared they 
wondered what precautions he was taking. He would be the 
first of the Forsytes to reach that age, and set, as it were, a 
new standard in holding on to life. That was so important, 
they felt, at their ages eighty-seven and eighty-five; though 
they did not want to think of themselves when they had 
Timothy, who was not yet eighty- two, to think of. There 
was, of course, a better world. ' In my Father's house are 
many mansions ' was one of Aunt Juley's favourite sayings — 
it always comforted her, with its suggestion of house property, 
which had made the fortune of dear Roger. The Bible 
was, indeed, a great resource, and on very fine Sundays there 
was church in the morning; and sometimes Juley would 
steal into Timothy's study when she was sure he was out, 
and just put an open New Testament casually among the 
books on his little table — he was a great reader, of course, 
having been a publisher. But she had noticed that Timothy 
was always cross at dinner afterwards. And Smither had 
told her more than once that she had picked books off the 
floor in doing the room. Still, with all that, they did feel 
that heaven could not be quite so cosy as the rooms in which 
they and Timothy had waited for so long. Aunt Hester, 
especially, could not bear the thought of the exertion. Any 
change, or rather the thought of a change — for there never 
was any — always upset her very much. Aunt Juley, who 
had more spirit, sometimes thought it would be quite ex- 
citing; she had so enjoyed that visit to Brighton the year 
dear Susan died. But then Brighton one knew was nice, and 
it was so difficult to teil what heaven would be like, so on the 
whole she was more than content to wait. 

On the morning of James' birthday, August the 5th, they 
felt extraordinary animation, and little notes passed between 
them by the hand of Smither while they were having break - 


fast in their beds. Smither must go round and take their 
love and little presents and find out how Mr. James was, and 
whether he had passed a good night with all the excitement. 
And on the way back would Smither call in at Green Street — 
it was a little out of her way, but she could take the bus up 
Bond Street afterwards; it would be a nice little change for 
her — and ask dear Mrs. Dartie to be sure and look in before 
she went out of town. 

All this Smither did — an undeniable servant trained 
thirty years ago under Aunt Ann to a perfection not now 
procurable. Mr. James, so Mrs. James said, had passed 
an excellent night, he sent his love; Mrs. James had said he 
was very funny and had complained that he didn't know 
what all the fuss was about. Oh ! and Mrs. Dartie sent 
her love, and she would come to tea. 

Aunts Juley and Hester, rather hurt that their presents 
had not received special mention — they forgot every year 
that James could not bear to receive presents, ' throwing 
away their money on him,' as he always called it — were 
* delighted '; it showed that James was in good spirits, and 
that was so important for him. And they began to wait for 
Winifred. She came at four, bringing Imogen, and Maud, 
just back from school, and ' getting such a pretty girl, too,' 
so that it was extremely difficult to ask for news about 
Annette. Aunt Juley, however, summoned courage to 
enquire whether Winifred had heard anything, and if 
Soames was anxious. 

" Uncle Soames is always anxious. Auntie," interrupted 
Imogen; " he can't be happy now he's got it." 

The words struck familiarly on Aunt Juley's ears. Ah ! 
yes ; that funny drawing of George's, which had not been 
shown them ! But what did Imogen mean ? That her 
uncle always wanted more than he could have ? It was not 
at all nice to think like that. 


Imogen's voice rose clear and clipped: 

" Imagine ! Annette's only two years older than me; 
it must be awful for her, married to Uncle Soames." 

Aunt Juley lifted her hands in horror. 

" My dear," she said, " you don't know what you're 
talking about. Your Uncle Soames is a match for anybody. 
He's a very clever man, and good-looking and wealthy, and 
most considerate and careful, and not at all old, considering 

Imogen, turning her luscious glance from one to the 
other of the ' old dears,' only smiled. 

" I hope," said Aunt Juley quite severely, " that you will 
marry as good a man." 

" / shan't marry a good man, Auntie," murmured Imo- 
gen; " they're dull." 

" If you go on like this," replied Aunt Juley, still very 
much upset, " you won't marry anybody. We'd better not 
pursue the subject;" and turning to Winifred, she said: 
" How is Montagu ?" 

That evening, while they were waiting for dinner, she 
murmured : 

" I've told Smither to get up half a bottle of the sweet 
champagne, Hester. I think we ought to drink dear James' 
health, and — and the health of Soames' wife; only, let's keep 
that quite secret. I'll just say like this, * And you know^ 
Hester !' and then we'll drink. It might upset Timothy." 

" It's more likely to upset us," said Aunt Hester. " But 
we must, I suppose; for such an occasion." 

" Yes," said Aunt Juley rapturously, "it is an occasion! 
Only fancy if he has a dear little boy, to carry the family on! 
I do feel it so important, now that Irene has had a son. 
Winifred says George is calling Jolyon ' The Three-Decker,' 
because of his three families, you know I George is droll. 
And fancy I Irene is living after all in the house Soames 


had built for them both. It does seem hard on dear Soames; 
and he's always been so regular." 

That night in bed, excited and a little flushed still by her 
glass of wine and the secrecy of the second toast, she lay with 
her prayer-book opened flat, and her eyes fixed on a ceiling 
yellowed by the light from her reading-lamp. Young 
things ! It was so nice for them all ! And she would be so 
happy if she could see dear Soames happy. But, of course, 
he must be now, in spite of what Imogen had said. He would 
have all that he wanted: property, and wife, and children ! 
And he would live to a green old age, like his dear father, and 
forget all about Irene and that dreadful case. If only she 
herself could be here to buy his children their first rocking- 
horse ! Smither should choose it for her at the stores, nice 
and dappled. Ah ! how Roger used to rock her until she 
fell off ! Oh dear ! that was a long time ago ! It was ! 

' In my Father's house are many mansions ' A little 

scrattling noise caught her ear — ' but no mice !' she thought 
mechanically. The noise increased. There ! it was a 
mouse ! How naughty of Smither to say there wasn't ! It 
would be eating through the wainscot before they knew 
where they were, and they would have to have the builders 
in. They were such destructive things ! And she lay, with 
her eyes just moving, following in her mind that little 
scrattling sound, and waiting for sleep to release her from it. 



SoAMEs walked out of the garden door, crossed the lawn, 
stood on the path above the river, turned round and walked 
back to the garden door, without having realised that he had 
moved. The sound of wheels crunching the drive convinced 
him that time had passed, and the doctor gone. What, 
exactly, had he said ? 

" This is the position, Mr. Forsyte. I can make pretty 
certain of her life if I operate, but the baby will be born dead. 
If I don't operate, the baby will most probably be born alive, 
but it's a great risk for the mother — a great risk. In either 
case I don't think she can ever have another child. In her 
state she obviously can't decide for herself, and we can't wait 
for her mother. It's for you to make the decision, while 
I'm getting what's necessary. I shall be back within the 

The decision ! What a decision ! No time to get a 
specialist down ! No time for anything ! 

The sound of wheels died away, but Soames still stood 
intent; then, suddenly covering his ears, he walked back to 
the river. To come before its time like this, with no chance 
to foresee anything, not even to get her mother here ! It 
was for her mother to make that decision, and she couldn't 
arrive from Paris till to-night ! If only he could have under- 
stood the doctor's jargon, the medical niceties, so as to be 
sure he was weighing the chances properly; but they were 
Greek to him — like a legal problem to a layman. And yet 
he must decide ! He brought his hand away from his brow 



wet, though the air was chilly. These sounds which came 
from her room ! To go back there would only make it more 
difficult. He must be calm, clear. On the one hand life, 
nearly certain, of his young wife, death quite certain, of his 
child; and — no more children afterwards ! On the other, 
death -perhaps of his wife, nearly certain life for the child; 
and — no more children afterwards ! Which to choose ? . . . 
It had rained this last fortnight — the river was very full, and 
in the water, collected round the little house-boat moored by 
his landing-stage, were many leaves from the woods above, 
brought off by a frost. Leaves fell, lives drifted down ! 
Death ! To decide about death ! And no one to give him 
a hand. Life lost was lost for good. Let nothing go that 
you could keep; for, if it went, you couldn't get it back. It 
left you bare, like those trees when they lost their leaves; 
barer and barer until you, too, withered and came down. 
And, by a queer somersault of thought, he seemed to see 
not Annette lying up there behind that window-pane on 
which the sun was shining, but Irene lying in their bedroom 
in Montpelier Square, as it might conceivably have been her 
fate to lie, sixteen years ago. Would he have hesitated then ? 
Not a moment ! Operate, operate ! Make certain of her 
life ! No decision — a mere instinctive cry for help, in spite 
of his knowledge, even then, that she did not love him ! 
But this ! Ah ! there was nothing overmastering in his 
feeling for Annette ! Many times these last months, espe- 
cially since she had been growing frightened, he had won- 
dered. She had a will of her own, was selfish in her French 
way. And yet — so pretty ! What would she wish — to take 
the risk ? ' I know she wants the child,' he thought. ' If 
it's born dead, and no more chance afterwards — it'll upset 
her terribly. No more chance ! All for nothing ! Married 
life with her for years and years without a child. Nothing 
to steady her ! She's too young. Nothing to look forward 


to, for her — for me ! For me /' He struck his hands against 
his chest ! Why couldn't he think without bringing himself 
in — get out of himself and see what he ought to do ? The 
thought hurt him, then lost edge, as if it had come in contact 
with a breastplate. Out of oneself ! Impossible ! Out 
into soundless, scentless, touchless, sightless space ! The 
very idea was ghastly, futile ! And touching there the bed- 
rock of reality, the bottom of his Forsyte spirit, Soames 
rested for a moment. When one ceased, all ceased; it 
might go on, but there'd be nothing in it ! 

He looked at his watch. In half an hour the doctor would 
be back. He must decide ! If against the operation and 
she died, how face her mother and the doctor afterwards ? 
How face his own conscience ? It was his child that she was 
having. If for the operation — then he condemned them 
both to childlessness. And for what else had he married her 
but to have a lawful heir ? And his father — at death's door, 
waiting for the news ! ' It's cruel !' he thought; ' I ought 
never to have such a thing to settle ! It's cruel !' He 
turned towards the house. Some deep, simple way of 
deciding ! He took out a coin, and put it back. If he spun 
it, he knew he would not abide by what came up ! He went 
into the dining-room, furthest away from that room whence 
the sounds issued. The doctor had said there was a chance. 
In here that chance seemed greater; the river did not flow, 
nor the leaves fall. A fire was burning. Soames unlocked 
the tantalus. He hardly ever touched spirits, but now he 
poured himself out some whisky and drank it neat, craving a 
faster flow of blood. 'That fellow Jolyon,' he thought; 
' he had children already. He has the woman I really loved; 
and now a son by her ! And I — I'm asked to destroy my 
only child ! Annette can't die; it's not possible. She's 
strong !' 

He was still standing sullenly at the sideboard when he 


heard the doctor's carriage, and went out to him. He had 
to wait for him to come downstairs. 

" Well, doctor ?" 

" The situation's the same. Have you decided ?" 

" Yes," said Soamcs; " don't operate !" 

" Not ? You understand — the risk's great ?" 

In Soames' set face nothing moved but the lips. 

" You said there was a chance ?" 

" A chance, yes; not much of one." 

" You say the baby must be born dead if you do ?" 

" Yes." 

" Do you still think that in any case she can't have 
another ?" 

" One can't be absolutely sure, but it's most unlikely." 

" She's strong," said Soames; " we'll take the risk." 

The doctor looked at him very gravely. " It's on your 
shoulders," he said; " with my own wife, I couldn't." 

Soames' chin jerked up as if someone had hit him. 

" Am I of any use up there ?" he asked. 

" No; keep away." 

"I shall be in my picture-gallery, then; you know 

The doctor nodded, and went upstairs. 

Soames continued to stand, listening. ' By this time to- 
morrow,' he thought, ' I may have her death on my hands.' 
No ! it was unfair — monstrous, to put it that way ! 
Sullenness dropped on him again, and he went up to the 
gallery. He stood at the window. The wind was in the 
north; it was cold, clear ; very blue sky, heavy ragged white 
clouds chasing across; the river blue, too, through the screen 
of goldening trees; the woods all rich with colour, glowing, 
burnished — an early autumn. If it were his own life, would 
he be taking that risk ? ' But she^d take the risk of losing me,' 
he thought, ' sooner than lose her child ! She doesn't really 


love me !' What could one expect — a girl and French ? 
The one thing really vital to them both, vital to their 
marriage and their futures, was a child ! ' I've been 
through a lot for this,' he thought, ' I'll hold on — hold on. 
There's a chance of keeping both — a chance !' One kept 
till things were taken — one naturally kept ! He began walk- 
ing round the gallery. He had made one purchase lately 
which he knew was a fortune in itself, and he halted before 
it — a girl with dull gold hair which looked like filaments of 
metal gazing at a little golden monster she was holding in 
her hand. Even at this tortured moment he could just feel 
the extraordinary nature of the bargain he had made — admire 
the quality of the table, the floor, the chair, the girl's figure, 
the absorbed expression on her face, the dull gold filaments 
of her hair, the bright gold of the little monster. Collecting 

pictures; growing richer, richer ! What use, if ! He 

turned his back abruptly on the picture, and went to the 
window. Some of his doves had flown up from their perches 
round the dovecot, and were stretching their wings in the 
wind. In the clear sharp sunlight their whiteness almost 
flashed. They flew far, making a flung-up hieroglyphic 
against the sky. Annette fed the doves; it was pretty to see 
her. They took it out of her hand; they knew she was 
matter-of-fact. A choking sensation came into his throat. 
She would not — could not die ! She was too — too sensible; 
and she was strong, really strong, like her mother, in spite of 
her fair prettiness ! 

It was already growing dark when at last he opened the 
door, and stood listening. Not a sound ! A milky twilight 
crept about the stairway and the landings below. He had 
turned back when a sound caught his ear. Peering down, he 
saw a black shape moving, and his heart stood still. What 
was it ? Death ? The shape of Death coming from her 
door ? No ! only a maid without cap or apron. She 


came to the foot of his flight of stairs and said breath- 

" The doctor wants to see you, sir." 

He ran down. She stood flat against the wall to let him 
pass, and said: 

" Oh, sir ! it's over." 

" Over ?" said Soames, with a sort of menace ; " what 
d'you mean ?" 

" It's born, sir." 

He dashed up the four steps in front of him, and came 
suddenly on the doctor in the dim passage. The man was 
wiping his brow. 

"Well?" he said; "quick!" 

" Both living; it's all right, I think." 

Soames stood quite still, covering his eyes. 

" I congratulate you," he heard the doctor say; " it was 
touch and go." 

Soames let fall the hand which was covering his face. 

" Thanks," he said ; " thanks very much. What 
is it ?" 

" Daughter — luckily; a son would have killed her — the 

A daughter ! 

" The utmost care of both," he heard the doctor say, 
" and we shall do. When does the mother come ?" 

" To-night, between nine and ten, I hope." 

" I'll stay till then. Do you want to see them ?" 

"Not now," said Soames; "before you go. I'll have 
dinner sent up to you." And he went downstairs. 

Relief unspeakable, and yet — a daughter ! It seemed to 
him unfair. To have taken that risk — to have been through 
this agony — and what agony ! — for a daughter ! He stood 
before the blazing fire of wood logs in the hall, touching it 
with his toe and trying to readjust himself. ' My father !' 


he thought. A bitter disappointment, no disguising it ! 
One never got all one wanted in this life ! And there was 
no other — at least, if there was, it was no use ! 

While he was standing there, a telegram was brought him. 

" Come up at once, your father sinking fast. — Mother," 

He read it with a choking sensation. One would have 
thought he couldn't feel anything after these last hours, but 
he felt this. Half-past seven, a train from Reading at nine, 
and madame's train, if she had caught it, came in at eight- 
forty — he would meet that, and go on. He ordered the 
carriage, ate some dinner mechanically, and went upstairs. 
The doctor came out to him. 
" They're sleeping." 

" I won't go in," said Soarnes with relief. " My father's 
dying; I have to go up. Is it all right ?" 

The doctor's face expressed a kind of doubting admiration. 
' If they were all as unemotional !' he might have been 

" Yes, I think you may go with an easy mind. You'll be 
down soon ?" 
" To-morrow," said Soames. " Here's the address." 
The doctor seemed to hover on the verge of sympathy. 
" Good-night !" said Soames abruptly, and turned away. 
He put on his fur coat. Death ! It was a chilly business. 
He smoked a cigarette in the carriage — one of his rare 
cigarettes. The night was windy and flew on black wings; 
the carriage lights had to search out the way. His father ! 
That old, old man ! A comfortless night — to die ! 

The London train came in just as he reached the station, 
and Madame Lamotte, substantial, dark-clothed, very 
yellow in the lamplight, came towards the exit with a 

" This all you have ?" asked Soames. 


" But yes; I had not the time. How is my little 

" Doing well— both. A girl !" 

" A girl ! What joy ! I had a frightful crossing !" 

Her black bulk, solid, unreduced by the frightful crossing, 
climbed into the brougham. 

" And you, mon cher /"' 

" My father's dying," said Soames between his teeth. 
" I'm going up. Give my love to Annette." 

" Tiens !" murmured Madame Lamotte ; " quel mal- 
heur /" 

Soames took his hat off, and moved towards his train. 
* The French !' he thought. 



A SIMPLE cold, caught in the room with double windows, 
where the air and the people who saw him were filtered, as 
it were, the room he had not left since the middle of Sep- 
tember — and James was in deep waters. A little cold, 
passing his little strength and flying quickly to his lungs. 
" He mustn't catch cold," the doctor had declared, and he 
had gone and caught it. When he first felt it in his throat 
he had said to his nurse — for he had one now — " There, I 
knew how it would be, airing the room like that !" For a 
whole day he was highly nervous about himself and went in 
advance of all precautions and remedies; drawing every 
breath with extreme care and having his temperature taken 
every hour. Emily was not alarmed. 

But next morning when she went in the nurse whispered : 
" He won't have his temperature taken." 

Emily crossed to the side of the bed where he was lying, 
and said softly, " How do you feel, Jxmes ?" holding the 
thermometer to his lips. James looked up at her. 

" What's the good of that ?" he murmured huskily; " I 
don't want to know." 

Then she was alarmed. He breathed with difficulty, he 
looked terribly frail, white, with faint red discolorations. 
She had ' had trouble ' with him, Goodness knew; but he 
was James, had been James for nearly fifty years ; she couldn't 
remember or imagine life without James — James, behind all 
his fussiness, his pessimism, his crusty shell, deeply affection- 
ate, really kind and generous to them all ! 



All that day and the next he hardly uttered a word, but 
there was in his eyes a noticing of everything done for him, 
a look on his face which told her he was fighting; and she did 
not lose hope. His very stillness, the way he conserved 
every little scrap of energy, showed the tenacity with which 
he was fighting. It touched her deeply; and though her 
face was composed and comfortable in the sick-room, tears 
ran down her cheeks when she was out of it. 

About tea-time on the third day — she had just changed 
her dress, keeping her appearance so as not to alarm him, 
because he noticed everything — she saw a difference. * It's 
no use; I'm tired,' was written plainly across that white face, 
and when she went up to him, he muttered: " Send for 

" Yes, James," she said comfortably; " all right — at 
once." And she kissed his forehead. A tear dropped 
there, and as she wiped it off she saw that his eyes looked 
grateful. Much upset, and without hope now, she sent 
Soames the telegram. 

When he entered out of the black windy night, the big 
house was still as a grave. Warmson's broad face looked 
almost narrow; he took the fur coat with a sort of added care, 
saying : 

" Will you have a glass of wine, sir ?" 

Soames shook his head, and his eyebrows made 

Warmson's lips twitched. " He's asking for you, sir; " 
and suddenly he blew his nose. " It's a long time, sir," he 
said, " that I've been with Mr. Forsyte — a long time." 

Soames left him folding the coat, and began to mount the 
stairs. This house, where he had been born and sheltered, 
had never seemed to him so warm, and rich, and cosy, as 
during this last pilgrimage to his father's room. It was not 
his taste; but in its own substantial, lincrusta way it was the 


acme of comfort and security. And the night was so dark 
and windy; the grave so cold and lonely ! 

He paused outside the door. No sound came from 
within. He turned the handle softly and was in the room 
before he was perceived. The light was shaded. His 
mother and Winifred were sitting on the far side of the bed; 
the nurse was moving away from the near side where was an 
empty chair. ' For me !' thought Soames. As he moved 
from the door his mother and sister rose, but he signed with 
his hand and they sat down again. He went up to the chair 
and stood looking at his father. James' breathing was as if 
strangled; his eyes were closed. And in Soames, looking on 
his father so worn and white and wasted, listening to his 
strangled breathing, there rose a passionate vehemence of 
anger against Nature, cruel, inexorable Nature, kneeling on 
the chest of that wisp of a body, slowly pressing out the 
breath, pressing out the life of the being who was dearest 
to him in the world. His father, of all men, had lived a 
careful life, moderate, abstemious, and this was his reward — 
to have life slowly, painfully squeezed out of him ! And, 
without knowing that he spoke, he said: " It's cruel." 

He saw his mother cover her eyes and Winifred bow her 
face towards the bed. Women ! They put up with things 
so much better than men. He took a step nearer to his 
father. For three days James had not been shaved, and his 
lips and chin were covered with hair, hardly more snowy than 
his forehead. It softened his face, gave it a queer look already 
not of this world. His eyes opened. Soames went quite 
close and bent over. The lips moved. 

" Here I am, Father." 

" Um — what — what news ? They never tell " the 

voice died, and a flood of emotion made Soames' face work 
so that he could not speak. Tell him ? — yes. But what ? 
He made a great effort, got his lips together, and said: 



" Good news, dear, good — Annette, a son." 

" Ah !" It was the queerest sound, ugly, relieved, pitiful, 
triumphant — like the noise a baby makes getting what it 
wants. The eyes closed, and that strangled sound of breath- 
ing began again. Soames recoiled to the chair and stonily 
sat down. The lie he had told, based, as it were, on some 
deep, temperamental instinct that after death James would 
not know the truth, had taken away all power of feeling for 
the moment. His arm brushed against something. It was 
his father's naked foot. In the struggle to breathe he had 
pushed it out from under the clothes. Soames took it in 
his hand, a cold foot, light and thin, white, very cold. What 
use to put it back, to wrap up that which must be colder 
soon ! He warmed it mechanically with his hand, listening 
to his father's laboured breathing; while the power of feeling 
rose again within him. A little sob, quickly smothered, 
came from Winifred, but his mother sat unmoving 
with her eyes fixed on James. Soames signed to the 

" Where's the doctor ?" he whispered. 

" He's been sent for." 

" Can't you do anything to ease his breathing ?" 

" Only an injection; and he can't stand it. The doctor 
said, while he was fighting " 

" He's not fighting," whispered Soames, " he's being 
slowly smothered. It's awful." 

James stirred uneasily, as if he knew what they were 
saying. Soames rose and bent over him. James feebly 
moved his two hands, and Soames took them. 

" He wants to be pulled up," whispered the nurse. 

Soames pulled. He thought he pulled gently, but a look 
almost of anger passed over James' face. The nurse plumped 
the pillows. Soames laid the hands down, and bending 
over kissed his father's forehead. As he was raising himself 


again, James' eyes bent on him a look which seemed to come 
from the very depths of what was left within. ' I'm done, 
my boy,' it seemed to say, ' take care of them, take care of 
yourself; take care — I leave it all to you.' 
" Yes, yes," Soames whispered, " yes, yes." 
Behind him the nurse did he knew not what, for his father 
made a tiny movement of repulsion as if resenting that inter- 
ference; and almost at once his breathing eased away, became 
quiet; he lay very still. The strained expression on his face 
passed, a curious white tranquillity took its place. His 
eyelids quivered, rested; the whole face rested, at ease. 
Only by the faint puffing of his lips could they tell that he 
was breathing. Soames sank back on his chair, and fell to 
cherishing the foot again. He heard the nurse quietly 
crying over there by the fire; curious that she, a stranger, 
should be the only one of them who cried ! He heard the 
quiet lick and flutter of the fire flames. One more old 
Forsyte going to his long rest — wonderful, they were ! — 
wonderful how he had held on ! His mother and Winifred 
were leaning forward, hanging on the sight of James' lips. 
But Soames bent sideways over the feet, warming them both; 
they gave him comfort, colder and colder though they grew. 
Suddenly he started up; a sound, a dreadful sound such as 
he had never heard, was coming from his father's lips, as if 
an outraged heart had broken with a long moan. What a 
strong heart, to have uttered that farewell ! It ceased. 
Soames looked into the face. No motion; no breath ! 
Dead ! He kissed the brow, turned round and went out of 
the room. He ran upstairs to the bedroom, his old bed- 
room, still kept for him, flung himself face down on the 
bed, and broke into sobs which he stifled, with the 
pillow. . . . 

A little later he went downstairs and passed into the room. 
James lay alone, wonderfully calm, free from shadow and 


anxiety, with the gravity on his ravaged face which underlies 
great age, the worn fine gravity of old coins. 

Soames looked steadily at that face, at the fire, at all 
the room with windows thrown open to the London 

" Good-bye !" he whispered, and went out. 



He had much to see to, that night and all next day. A tele- 
gram at breakfast reassured him about Annette, and he only 
caught the last train back to Reading, with Emily's kiss on 
his forehead and in his ears her words: 

" I don't know what I should have done without you, my 
dear boy." 

He reached his house at midnight. The weather had 
changed, was mild again, as though, having finished its work 
and sent a Forsyte to his last account, it could relax. A 
second telegram, received at dinner-time, had confirmed the 
good news of Annette, and, instead of going in, Soames 
passed down through the garden in the moonlight to his 
houseboat. He could sleep there quite well. Bitterly 
tired, he lay down on the sofa in his fur coat and fell asleep. 
He woke soon after dawn and went on deck. He stood 
against the rail, looking west where the river swept round 
in a wide curve under the woods. In Soames, appreciation 
of natural beauty was curiously like that of his farmer 
ancestors, a sense of grievance if it wasn't there, sharpened, 
no doubt, and civiUsed, by his researches among landscape 
painting. But dawn has power to fertilise the most matter- 
of-fact vision, and he was stirred. It was another world 
from the river he knew, under that remote cool light; a 
world into which man had not entered, an unreal world, like 
some strange shore sighted by discovery. Its colour was not 
the colour of convention, was hardly colour at all; its shapes 
were brooding yet distinct; its silence stunning; it had no 
scent. Why it should move him he could not tell, unless it 
were that he felt so alone in it, bare of all relationship and all 



possessions. Into such a world his father might be voyaging, 
for all resemblance it had to the world he had left. And 
Soames took refuge from it in wondering what painter could 
have done it justice. The white-grey water was like — like 
the belly of a fish ! Was it possible that this world on which 
he looked was all private property, except the water — and 
even that was tapped ! No tree, no shrub, not a blade of 
grass, not a bird or beast, not even a fish that was not owned. 
And once on a time all this was jungle and marsh and water, 
and weird creatures roamed and sported without human 
cognizance to give them names; rotting luxuriance had 
rioted where those tall, carefully planted woods came down 
to the water, and marsh-misted reeds on that far side had 
covered all the pasture. Well ! they had got it under, 
kennelled it all up, labelled it, and stowed it in lawyers* 
offices. And a good thing too! But once in a way, as now, the 
ghost of the past came out to haunt and brood and whisper 
to any human who chanced to be awake: *Out of my unowned 
loneliness you all came, into it some day you will all return.* 

And Soames, who felt the chill and the eeriness of that 
world — new to him and so very old: the world, unowned, 
visiting the scene of its past — went down and made himself 
tea on a spirit-lamp. When he had drunk it, he took out 
writing materials and wrote two paragraphs: 

" On the 20th instant at his residence in Park Lane, 
James Forsyte, in his ninety-first year. Funeral at noon 
on the 24th at Highgate. No flowers by request." 

" On the 20th instant at The Shelter, Mapledurham, 
Annette, wife of Soames Forsyte, of a daughter." And 
underneath on the blotting-paper he traced the word "son." 

It was eight o'clock in an ordinary autumn world when 
he went across to the house. Bushes across the river stood 
round and bright-coloured out of a milky haze; the wood- 
smoke went up blue and straight ; and his doves cooed, 
preening their feathers in the sunlight. 

HIS 327 

He stole up to his dressing-room, bathed, shaved, put on 
fresh linen and dark clothes. 

Madame Lamotte was beginning her breakfast when he 
went down. 

She looked at his clothes, said, " Don't tell me !" and 
pressed his hand. " Annette is prettee well. But the 
doctor say she can never have no more children. You 
knew that ?" Soames nodded. " It is a pity. Mais la 
petite est adorable. Du caf/P^^ 

Soames got away from her as soon as he could. She 
offended him — solid, matter-of-fact, quick, clear — French. 
He could not bear her vowels, her ' r's ' ; he resented the 
way she had looked at him, as if it were his fault that 
Annette could never bear him a son ! His fault ! He 
even resented her cheap adoration of the daughter he had 
not yet seen. 

Curious how he jibbed away from sight of his wife and 
child ! 

One would have thought he must have rushed up at the 
first moment. On the contrary, he had a sort of physical 
shrinking from it — fastidious possessor that he was. He was 
afraid of what Annette was thinking of him, author of her 
agonies, afraid of the look of the baby, afraid of showing his 
disappointment with the present and — the future. 

He spent an hour walking up and down the drawing-room 
before he could screw his courage up to mount the stairs 
and knock on the door of their room 

Madame Lamotte opened it. 

" Ah ! At last you come ! Elle vous attend ./" She 
passed him, and Soames went in with his noiseless step, his 
jaw firmly set, his eyes furtive. 

Annette was very pale and very pretty lying there. The 
baby was hidden away somewhere; he could not see it. He 
went up to the bed, and with sudden emotion bent and kissed 
her forehead. 


" Here you are then, Soames," she said. " I am not so 
bad now. But I suffered terribly, terribly. I am glad I 
cannot have any more. Oh ! how I suffered !" 

Soames stood silent, stroking her hand; words of endear- 
ment, of sympathy, absolutely would not come; the thought 
passed through him : ' An English girl wouldn't have said 
that !' At this moment he knew with certainty that he 
would never be near to her in spirit and in truth, nor she 
to him. He had collected her — that was all ! And Jolyon's 
words came rushing into his mind: " I should imagine you 
will be glad to have your neck out of chancery." Well, he 
had got it out ! Had he got it in again ? 

" We must feed you up," he said, " you'll soon be strong.'* 

" Don't you want to see baby, Soames ? She is asleep." 

" Of course," said Soames, " very much." 

He passed round the foot of the bed to the other side and 
stood staring. For the first moment what he saw was much 
what he had expected to see — a baby. But as he stared and 
the baby breathed and made little sleeping movements with 
its tiny features, it seemed to assume an individual shape, 
grew to be like a picture, a thing he would know again; not 
repulsive, strangely bud-like and touching. It had dark 
hair. He touched it with his finger, he wanted to see its 
eyes. They opened, they were dark — whether blue or brown 
he could not tell. The eyes winked, stared, they had a sort 
of sleepy depth in them. And suddenly his heart felt queer, 
warm, as if elated. 

" Ma petite fleur /'* Annette said softly. 

" Fleur," repeated Soames: " Fleur ! we'll call her that." 

The sense of triumph and renewed possession swelled 
within him. 

By God ! this — this thing was his ! 






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